Top 12 Foods to Avoid When You Have Braces

Top 12 Foods to Avoid When You Have Braces

Keeping braces clean and functional is essential. Wires and brackets can become warped or broken by tough, sticky, and chewy foods, resulting in an inconvenient dental emergency. To help our patients keep their dental wear in tip-top shape and avoid these situations, Orthodontics of Long Beach in Long Beach, CA has compiled a list of the top twelve foods braces-wearers should avoid. We understand that having braces can necessitate a change in dietary choices, and we are here to help keep you informed and make the transition as seamless as possible!

What Foods Does Orthodontics of Long Beach Recommend I Avoid?

Orthodontics of Long Beach recommends avoiding foods that can harm your dental wear and prolong orthodontic treatment. While the list we will provide below is not comprehensive, it offers a helpful starting point. Certain foods have more potential to damage wires, brackets, loosen bands, or become stuck than others. Therefore, it is wise to avoid troublesome food items at all costs: 

1. Hard Crackers, Chips, and Pretzels

Crackers, chips, and pretzels are classic snacks and comfort foods. However, biting down on these can wreak havoc on your braces. Brackets have the potential to break, bands can become loose, wires may bend, and food particles may become lodged in hard-to-reach places. Avoiding these foods or finding a soft alternative is the best way to keep your new dental wear in good shape.

2. Tough Bread or Crust

Biting into tough bread or hard crust is an easy way to damage braces. It may be tempting to have a large, toasted sandwich or a pizza with a crunchy crust, but saying no to these food items during orthodontic treatment is the best way to go. Luckily, there are soft bread and crust options, and these can also be cut into smaller bites that are easier to chew.

3. Popcorn

Biting into a handful of soft, buttery popcorn seems benign until it wields a surprise in the form of a sneaky kernel. Attempting to avoid nasty kernels is almost a mute effort; one is bound to slip in somewhere. Popcorn kernels are notorious for leaving brackets broken or becoming stuck. They have even been known to crack a tooth or two.

4. Nuts and Seeds

Various nuts, like almonds, peanuts, cashews, and so forth, are difficult to bite into. They can sometimes be cumbersome for individuals without braces to enjoy, but they especially should be avoided when it comes to preserving your dental wear. On the other hand, seeds are not always necessarily hard to bite into, but they are prone to become lodged in a place that is challenging to reach. If they sit there long enough, dental decay can occur.

5. Nut Butters

Nut butter, whether it is peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter, or another type of butter, is problematic on braces for two reasons. Biting into a random nut can have consequences for the teeth and braces, and the stickiness of the butter itself makes it challenging to keep braces clean. Overall, any sticky or chewy foods are best left untouched.

6. Beef Jerky

Beef jerky comes in various flavors and seasonings that can make almost any mouth water. However, its chewy and stringy properties can make for a dental wear disaster. Beef jerky can loosen bands, pull on brackets, and bend wires. Until the conclusion of your orthodontic treatment, it is one savory treat best avoided. 

7. Hard, Sticky, or Chewy Candies

Candy is incredibly delicious and enticing. However, hard, sticky, and chewy candy creates an unsettling situation for brackets, bands, and wires. Examples of candies to avoid include caramel, jolly ranchers, gummy bears, Laffy Taffy, and lollipops. We understand this is challenging, but finding a satisfying alternative, such as a pudding cup or soft cookie, can be just as good. 

8. Crunchy Vegetables

Examples of crunchy vegetables include raw carrots, cucumbers, broccoli, and so forth. Any raw, hard, or crunchy vegetables should be swapped for soft, cooked, or steamed vegetables. It may also be best to cut these into smaller pieces. Vegetables are essential to every diet, but the form in which they are consumed can make all the difference to braces-wearers. 

9. Croutons

Salads are a healthy and soft entree, side, or snack. However, crunchy vegetables and croutons can turn them into a braces nightmare. Instead, having a soft-boiled egg or soft vegetables can dress up a salad. In addition, soft and bite-sized pieces of meat, such as cubed ham, can pack it with protein and make it more filling.

10. Hard Fruits

Hard fruits that require biting into, such as apples, are disasters waiting to happen. Fortunately, one can still enjoy apples in the form of applesauce. In fact, there are many diced and packaged soft fruit cups that are ready to go and make a tasty addition to any meal or simply a handy snack. 

11. Corn on the Cob

Corn on the cob is a two-fold disaster. First, biting into it and potentially knocking your teeth against the hard cob can cause dental issues. Second, corn on the cob often comes off in shredded pieces, and these quickly become lodged under wires and between brackets. If brushing and a floss pick do not catch these particles, they can become a source of dental decay. Having a cavity on top of braces is anything but ideal.

12. Taco Shells

Crispy, seasoned taco shells are undeniably delicious. However, like other hard foods, they are no friend to braces. These hard pieces clank against dental wear and splinter off, becoming stuck between brackets and under wires, if not damaging them. Thus, trading a hardened taco shell in for a soft tortilla is a choice that will have your braces thanking you later.

In addition to the aforementioned foods, it is a good idea to stay away from other hard, sticky, or chewy foods. Preserving your dental wear can help save you from unpleasant dental emergencies and interrupted orthodontic treatment.

Do You Have More Questions About Your Braces?

Orthodontics of Long Beach is available to help answer questions about your new dental wear. Foods such as hard crackers, chips, pretzels, breads, crusts, popcorn, nuts, seeds, nut butters, beef jerky, candy, vegetables, croutons, fruits, corn on the cob, and taco shells should be avoided. However, if you have any doubts concerning what to eat, it is an excellent rule to actively forgo food items that are hard, sticky, or chewy. As always, our dental office in Long Beach, CA is one message away.

If you have more dental wear questions for Orthodontics of Long Beach, please feel free to contact us at (562) 667-2973!


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