Did you know eating the wrong foods can do damage to your braces?
You’ll be wearing your braces for an extended period of time, and damaging your braces not only causes discomfort, but it can also hurt your mouth. You’ll need to follow a few food and drink guidelines to keep your braces in top shape until they can be removed.
Getting braces as an adult? You probably have a lot of questions.
Does it hurt to get braces? How long does it take to get braces off? One of the most important things is knowing what food and drinks to avoid.
Here is our top list of 8 different food and drinks to avoid with braces so you can protect them while still enjoying the foods you love.
1. Crunchy Fruit and Vegetables
Corn on the cob is a great side dish for any meal. Unfortunately, any fruit or vegetable that requires biting into it is going to be off-limits during your time of having braces.
This includes fruit like apples, pears, and peaches. It’s important to still get your five a day, so stick to soft fruits like berries and grapes to protect your braces.
For vegetables, be sure to cook them until they’re as soft as possible rather than eating crunchy carrots, broccoli, and green beans.
2. Chewing Gum
Want to keep your mouth minty fresh? Avoid chewing gum and stick to breath mints, mouthwash, and toothpaste.
Any sticky substances create a risk of bending or breaking your braces or getting stuck in the brackets or wires. Chewing gum is one of the worst offenders for this.
Chewing sugarless gum can help to protect your teeth and gums between meals by increasing saliva production and reducing acids that occur after eating. Despite this, it’s best to avoid using gum altogether while wearing braces.
3. Fizzy or Sugary Drinks
Sugary drinks can cause your braces to break down and can weaken your teeth. This especially includes energy drinks and sports drinks which typically have high sugar content.
Despite the obvious health benefits, be mindful of natural fruit juices which are also high in sugar. Take extra care with citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruits — these can cause staining and are not braces-friendly.
Sugar content aside, fizzy drinks are also highly acidic which can cause tooth decay and erosion over time.
4. Tough or Hard Bread
Using soft fluffy bread for sandwiches is completely fine but be careful of hard rolls, baguettes, or sub sandwiches.
Toasted bread or any bread that has a hard crust should be avoided, including pizza crusts. Eating pizza in general is okay, just watch out for the crusts!
As for snacks, take care with pretzels, hard crackers, and croutons which can potentially be damaging to your braces due to their texture.
5. Tough Meat
Try to only eat soft meats that don’t require too much chewing.
Like your steak well-done? It might be best to temporarily cut it out of your diet to avoid over-chewing. Protect your braces by cutting the pieces as small as possible and do any chewing with your stronger back teeth.
Snack-wise, skip the beef jerky and hard meat sticks which will be too tough to eat.
6. Sticky Condiments
Sticky condiments including peanut butter, maple syrup, and Nutella might cause problems with your braces. Be cautious with what spreads or condiments you choose to use and how sticky they are.
The golden rule? If it’s ever gotten stuck in your teeth or the roof of your mouth, it could potentially get stuck in your braces and should be avoided.
7. Tea and Coffee
It’s not all about the food you eat. Many people are unaware that there are certain drinks to avoid with braces.
Hot drinks like tea and coffee cause more problems than you may think — they can permanently leave a stained appearance on your braces that can’t be fixed.
Don’t want to give up your daily caffeine fix? Try drinking through a straw to protect your teeth and braces, and be sure to use a good whitening toothpaste at the start and end of each day.
8. Sweets and Chocolate
Got a sweet tooth? Be careful what you eat. Not only is too much sugar bad for your teeth in general, but a lot of your favorite sugary snacks can be too sticky or tough on your teeth and braces.
Going to the movies? Skip the popcorn.
Love licorice? Imagine a black sticky substance stuck in your braces.
Avoid a sticky situation by steering clear of caramel, toffee, fudge, and marshmallows until you get your braces removed.
Food and Drinks to Avoid with Braces: A Summary
Be aware of what food and drinks to avoid with braces to prevent damaging or loosening them.
Chewy or sticky foods, anything hard or crunchy, and sugary or fizzy drinks, should always be avoided. If you’re unsure about any specific food or drink, always consult your orthodontist first for professional advice. Don’t let the food you love be one of your reasons not to get braces.
As long as you avoid these foods and clean your mouth well, you shouldn’t have any problems.
Long-term, braces can help you to prevent gum disease, tooth decay, and bone erosion, so it’s important to protect them.
Are you or someone in your family considering braces? Or having problems with your current braces? Schedule a consultation with one of our expert orthodontists today.