Braces aren’t without their drawbacks, but when you have a beautiful, straight smile after your treatment is complete, the time you had with braces will feel well worth it. Whether you have traditional metal braces, lingual braces (which are applied to the backs of your teeth rather than the front), or ceramic braces, it’s important to avoid a few things to protect your orthodontia and ensure you can complete your treatment as scheduled.
So what should you avoid when you have braces? The following foods and bad habits could cause damage to your orthodontia.
Biting Directly Into Raw Fruit or Vegetables
Eating raw fruit and vegetables without cutting them up first can be difficult with braces, especially if the fruit or veggie is crunchy and firm. These include whole fruits such as firm pears and apples and fibrous vegetables such as raw carrots and celery . Corn on the cob is another vegetable that should be cut so you can easily eat it with your braces, even though it’s cooked.
If something is uncomfortable to eat with your braces, chances are you shouldn’t be eating it!
Sticky Candies or Treats
Caramels, toffee, licorice, gummy worms, and marshmallows may all sound yummy, but they aren’t good for your braces. These sticky treats can damage your orthodontia, causing rings to loosen or wires to bend . Hard candies are best avoided as well. These include jawbreakers, peppermints, and Jolly Ranchers. These are some of the top sweets that can cause tooth decay as well, so by avoiding them, you are also protecting the health of your smile.
Ice, Animal Bones, and Non-Edible Objects
Chewing ice is never good for your teeth, and it can be especially damaging when you are in the process of straightening your teeth with braces . You should also avoid eating meat off the bone or chewing on bones when you have braces, as these hard objects can damage your orthodontia and even your teeth. Chewing on other non-edible objects, such as pens, pencils, and fingernails should be avoided whether or not you have braces.
Popcorn and Tough Breads
Bread seems harmless enough, but tough, chewy bread such as bagels, biscotti, baguettes, and crusty breads can damage your braces. While you can try cutting up these breads into smaller pieces or soaking them in water before eating, it’s generally best to avoid them. Popcorn is another food to avoid when you have braces—the tough kernels can be challenging to chew and could cause wires to bend when you have metal braces.
You Don’t Have to Avoid These Foods Forever
Although avoiding certain foods with your braces can feel daunting, it won’t last forever. Protecting your oral health as well as your orthodontia will make your treatment time go by that much faster. Ask your orthodontist about any other foods or habits you should avoid when you get your braces so you can protect your smile!