5 Types of Food That Aren’t Braces-Friendly

Metal braces Carmel IN orthodontists

It can be a little disheartening to learn that once you have brackets and wires on your teeth, there are foods you shouldn’t eat. Don’t panic, it’s only temporary! Once you have your braces removed by our Carmel, IN, orthodontists, you can return to your original favorites.

Here are 5 foods to stay away from while wearing braces and a few that are perfect no matter what treatment option you’ve chosen.

Why It’s Important to Care for Your Braces

Let’s be honest, whether you have metal braces,ceramic braces, or even InBrace®, it’s an investment. The last thing you want (or your parents want) is for wires and brackets to become damaged. Accidents aside, it is very much possible to make it to the finish line with intact components and no treatment delays.

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To keep your braces in tip-top shape, Dr. Davila and Dr. Hani encourage you to be mindful of the foods you are consuming. It may take some time to adjust to the new “rules” but in the end, you’ll be glad you did. The less you’re in our Carmel, IN, orthodontics office having your braces repaired, the faster you’ll be done with treatment.

Remember to also brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss daily. This will not only work to keep your braces clean, but your teeth underneath as well. If you need some help with your at-home routine, we can give you some tips for brushing and flossing with braces.

When Wearing Braces, Avoid the Following Foods:

1. Popcorn

We know, movie night doesn’t seem complete without this salty and crunchy snack. Unfortunately, the hard, unpopped kernels can do damage to your braces. For example, a kernel can become stuck underneath your wires and possibly bend them. If you don’t have braces yet, just think about how much popcorn already gets stuck in between your teeth or in your back molars.

If you can find kernel-free or hull-less popcorn, that’s great! Options found at the store include airy puffcorn, buttery cheese puffs, or mushroom (shape, not flavor) popcorn. Otherwise, we recommend experimenting with another movie-time snack like soft pretzels, soft baked cookies, or fruit slices.

2. Nuts

Like popcorn, snacking on a nut mix can put you at risk for unwanted (and costly) repairs. Of course, they are healthy and a great source of nutrients, but it’s their hard consistency that makes them off-limits. We recommend avoiding all types in their whole form during your orthodontic treatment as they can bend wires and break off other components when you’re not even close to coming in for a scheduled adjustment.

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Chopped nuts in desserts or savory dishes are completely fine as long as they’re small enough to chew easily. Smooth nut butters are also perfectly acceptable if you still want the taste.

3. Hard or Overly Chewy Candy

Caramel, taffy, and other similar sweets are yummy until they result in an emergency trip to our office. Not only can the candy stick to your braces and make them tough to clean, but you can also risk loosening the wires, bands, or brackets. Unless you want to pull something loose, it’s best to steer clear of these types of candy until after you’ve had your braces removed!

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4. Corn on the Cob

Have you ever bitten into an ear of corn only to find most of it stuck in between your teeth when you pull away? Now imagine that but with metal brackets and wires in the way.Yeah, it’s not ideal and often a big mess. To avoid a long cleaning session and possible broken braces, Dr. Hani and Dr. Davila suggest waiting until after treatment to bite directly into corn.

If you’re really craving corn, the best way to eat it with braces is to trim the kernels off with a knife (or special corn shaver) and onto a plate.

5. Crunchy Fruits (Whole) or Vegetables

No, we do not mean you should avoid ALL fruits and vegetables. What our orthodontists do want, however, is for you to try to cut up any whole fruits or vegetables before eating, i.e., no biting directly into apples. Even better yet, eat steamed vegetables that have been adequately softened.

Great Food Options to Enjoy With Braces

Like we mentioned above, there are plenty of foods you can eat with braces. With some, it’s all about adapting. For instance, pre-slicing fruits, only chewing sugar-free gum, and being wise about hard crusts.

Here are some examples of foods that are easy to eat:

  • Dairy products (cheese, milk, yogurt)
  • Grains (rice, pasta, oatmeal)
  • Chicken, beef, pork (make sure it’s not too chewy and cut up into pieces)
  • Most types of soft bread

Not interested in having any dietary restrictions? Ask Dr. Davila or Dr. Hani about Invisalign® clear aligners if you’re still considering treatment options. The aligners are removable which means you can eat the foods you want so long as you keep up with oral hygiene.

Schedule Your Next Appointment 

Sure, food restrictions aren’t great but when you choose metal braces, they are part of the tradeoff for a beautiful smile. Plus, if you keep up with your treatment and follow the advice of our orthodontists in Carmel, IN, you’ll be on the fast track to once again eating the foods you love. Call WestClay Orthodontics today at (317) 593-1400 to request an appointment.

This blog post has been updated.

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