Foods To Avoid When You Have Braces

Whether you recently had braces fitted, your child has them currently or they are an option being considered in the future, it is wise to consider how they may alter what you can and cannot eat and how that may impact your lifestyle or diet.

At Coolangatta Dental Group, we have a specialist orthodontic team with extensive knowledge when it comes to braces, retainers and near-invisible teeth straightening options such as Invisalign.

Early Stages of Orthodontics

It is worth highlighting the fact that there are some types of food that should be avoided in the first few days and/or weeks of having braces fitted and others which should remain out of your diet for the duration of treatment so as not to damage them or slow down your treatment time.

Foods to avoid in the early days include those that can irritate the mouth or become a discomfort, particularly if you experience any tooth sensitivity while you adapt to your new braces. These would include foods and beverages of extremes of temperatures, such as ice cream or hot tea. Your orthodontist may also advise you to avoid some “thicker” foods as well, for instance sizable cuts of meat and even chunky rolls of bread that require you to exert significant effort when biting down. 

General Guideline For Braces

As no list can ever be truly definitive, it is also useful to have general guidelines to follow. A patient with braces should avoid sticky and hard foods. Why you may ask? Sticky items can attach to the braces and wires and make cleaning them substantially more difficult, while anything hard has the propensity to cause damage to the brace when biting down. Sticky soft foods, which are often sweet and high in sugar, would also be a concern as they can lead to bacterial build-up and plaque. This is a potential problem for any patient, but having braces makes it more difficult to clear this plaque away from some areas of the mouth without professional help (from a hygienist).

We all have nervous habits but chewing on other non-edible hard items like pens and pencils can also warp or damage your braces!

Food to Avoid for Those With Braces

Specific foods to avoid include:

  • Nuts
  • Popcorn (which can become lodged in your gums underneath the bracket)
  • Hard chocolate
  • Hard / sticky sweets and lollies (these can become stuck on the brace and actually pull them away from the teeth!)
  • Chewing gum
  • Brittle foods such as taco shells or pretzels
  • Hard biscuits, cookies or crackers
  • Pizza (specifically a hard crust)
  • Crunchy, raw vegetables
  • Hard rolls and bagels or sourdough crusts
  • Foods that have to be bitten into – for instance apples or corn on the cob
  • Chips, especially thick cut crisps
  • Soups and curries rich in color may carry a lot of spices like turmeric or mustard that can stain parts of certain braces (this is also the case for red wine and coffee)

The list above is not definitive,  but it provides a good idea of the types of food that are best avoided during your treatment period. 

How to Enjoy Some Foods You’re Not Meant to Eat with Braces

The list of foods to be avoided can seem lengthy and tricky to keep mindful of, especially as it includes healthy and nutritious foods such as vegetables. But, don’t worry, your favourite foods can still be eaten, just in a different way! Vegetables such as carrots can be cooked to become softer or chopped into smaller pieces so that they are easier to chew. Although hard nuts should be avoided, it is possible to eat peanut butter or similar nutty spreads. You just have to get creative!

Damaged Braces? What To Do

Say for instance you eat something on the list noted above and worry that it may have damaged your braces, there is no need to panic.  Most orthodontic “emergencies” can be easily repaired. Any patient who has braces fitted will have regular checks to ensure their tooth alignment is occurring as predicted and to check for any issues with the braces.However, anyone with concerns should reach out to their orthodontist – it may be that a quick visit may be required just to check there is no need for a minor readjustment.

Braces are designed to be fairly robust, but that is not to say they will withstand repeated contact with foods or beverages you are advised to avoid. Wires, brackets and bands can all become loose after eating something damaging and result in causing considerable discomfort. 

Most people find that after a few weeks, the list of foods to be avoided has little impact on what they choose to eat on a daily basis.

What About Eating with Invisalign?

One advantage of an option such as Invisalign (clear aligners instead of metal and wire braces) is that the aligners are removed for eating so it is possible to enjoy a greater variety of food. However, you must give the teeth a thorough cleanse before reinserting your aligners, and of course you should still steer clear of sugary and acidic foods to protect your teeth.

Are you looking to find out more about options to straighten your teeth? Give us a call today or book an appointment online!