Foods to avoid with braces

Eating with braces

Getting used to the feeling of braces can be painful and the discomfort is easily compounded by hard and crunchy foods that are best avoided. Although you might miss eating these foods, there are a lot of great alternatives that you can turn to and some foods that are difficult to eat can be cut into smaller pieces for easier eating.

Let’s start off with the foods that are an absolute no-no, as heart-breaking as it is to say your goodbyes until the braces come off.  Popcorn and nuts are hard and tough on the teeth –a few handfuls can do enough damage to wires to ensure a trip back to the orthodontist’s office. The popcorn hulls can also get stuck between wires and could be nearly impossible to remove, not even to mention painful and irritating. Ice, pretzels and hard crackers are similarly tough, while gum and toffees can even pull off the blocks that hold wires in place. Peanut butter and maple syrup are also best avoided as they could be equally damaging. Not everything we chew is food so you might need to stay away from chewing on pens or biting your fingernails, both habits that can be damaging to the wires of your braces.

Good substitutes for hard crackers and popcorn are soft crackers – believe it or not, they can be just as tasty – and hull-less popcorn. Luckily, chocolate without hard fillings or toffee is still a safe choice and jelly candies and gummies are never a problem! However, be sure to limit your intake of sugary sweets – while they might not lead to another visit at the orthodontist’s office, you’ll probably find yourself back at the dentist to deal with all those cavities! Fruits without pits including bananas, grapes, strawberries, and orange slices are tasty and painless options. Other soft fruits such as nectarines and grapefruits are also seedless, while yogurt, cheese, and soft meats are safe to enjoy without even thinking about it.  Foods such as yogurt and cheese are also calcium-rich and will actually strengthen your teeth.

Although hard foods such as raw vegetables – especially carrots – can do damage, cutting them into small pieces make them a safe and tasty treat. These raw vegetables can also be cooked soft for easier eating. Croutons, hard rolls and crispy breads can also be cut into smaller pieces to enjoy or dipped into soup to soften. Corn on the cob can become corn off the cob and you can keep enjoying that freely. While chewing ice can be damaging to braces, sucking on the ice can actually help relieve the pain and discomfort caused by new braces – just be sure not to bite on it!

While it might be difficult to adapt to a new diet that’s braces-friendly yet tasty, turn to softer foods for comfort: soft cookies, soups, pastas, soft fruits, and the most harmless of all, mashed potatoes. If there are any foods that you aren’t sure about, do a quick Google search or call up your orthodontist to find out. Happy eating!