One of the biggest questions everyone has about braces is “What can I eat with braces?” It’s a big deal, especially for kids who can have a difficult time changing their diet. While it may seem daunting and frustrating that you have to watch what you eat, the restrictions are not as bad as they might seem. The following restrictions are crucial in taking care of your teeth with braces.

What to Avoid

As a general rule, you should always steer clear of really sticky and crunchy foods. Both kinds of foods and snacks can cause serious issues with your braces.

Avoid eating the following:

  • Caramels
  • Gum
  • Sticky candy
  • Nuts
  • Ice
  • Hard candy
  • Chips
  • Popcorn
  • Whole apples
  • Carrots
  • Corn on the cob
  • Bagels
  • Licorice
  • Beef jerky

Sticky and gummy foods can be especially troublesome. You should avoid snacks like caramels, gum and chewy candy. These can pull and tug on your appliances and cause loose or pokey wires as well as getting stuck on and around your braces. These types of foods are difficult to remove from your braces as well. If left on for an extended amount of time, the sticky, sugary candies can create plaque and cavities on your teeth. You don’t want to get your braces taken off only to find your teeth have deteriorated around them! If you are asking “Why does chewing gum hurt my teeth”?, you could be reading your answer here.

Crunchy foods can cause big issues also. Popcorn, ice and certain chips should definitely be avoided. These foods can bend or loosen your brackets, and even bend or break your wires. Biting into hard fruits and vegetables, like apples and carrots, can have the same effects. Broken brackets and wires can cause discomfort and will delay your treatment time. There are things you can do at home to make yourself comfortable until you can be seen, but ultimately you will have to have these breakages repaired by your orthodontist.

Chewy foods like bagels and sandwiches, and tougher meats like jerky, can loosen your wires. If you do eat a sandwich, cutting it up into smaller bite-sized pieces makes it much easier to avoid breakages.

 Why You Can’t Eat What You Normally Do

Breaking your braces is not only scary, but it can cause discomfort also. If your wire comes loose by eating hard chips, it can poke your cheek or gums. Loose brackets and broken wires keep your braces from doing what they are supposed to. They can’t straighten your teeth if they aren’t connected to each other and working properly. Eating the wrong foods can delay your orthodontic treatment and prolong the amount of time you have to keep your braces on.

Taking Care of Your Braces

Like we’ve mentioned before, taking special care of your dental hygiene is incredibly important with braces. If your child has braces, you should send a toothbrush and toothpaste to school with them so they can brush their teeth after lunch and every snack. This will keep the plaque from building up around the braces. Packing their lunch is a good way to know they have plenty of braces-safe options to eat. Flossing is also important to the health of your gums. It gets out pieces of food and plaque from between your teeth that you can’t reach with your toothbrush.

Once you get used to limiting what you might normally eat, the rest of your time with braces will be a breeze. Always remember that it’s only temporary and that you will be back to your favorite chewy and crunchy foods soon. If you have more questions about what to avoid eating with braces, call our office at (843)4-BRACES today!