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Foods You Avoid If You Have Braces

Wearing braces has become so common in the United States that they are almost iconic with childhood. In fact, recent surveys suggest that 50-80% of children will wear braces at some point between the ages of 6-18.

The process of putting braces on can be a bit uncomfortable. The soreness and stiffness go away in a couple days and with proper care the braces can do their job and be removed. Braces can be damaged by foods, causing them to be ripped out. In some cases, a tooth can even be ripped out.

By avoiding foods that are not “braces-friendly,” you can make sure that your kids mouths get the most benefit out of these orthodontic devices. If you are an adult looking for alternatives to braces, please visit our page: alternative-to-braces-2 for more information.

For the first few days after braces have been placed, all foods should be soft. This prevents your lips and cheeks from getting cut, and ultimately increasing the soreness. The best foods for the first few days are yogurts, mashed potatoes, soup, and other easy-to-swallow food.

As a general guideline, people with braces should avoid chewy, crunchy, or sticky foods. Gum is one of the worst foods for braces. Not only does the gum weave its way in and out of the wires, making it nearly impossible to get out, but it can rip out the brackets.

The sugars from these foods get caught behind brackets and hooks, making your child’s teeth more prone to decay. This means another dental visit to get them reinstalled. Caramel and taffy will have similar damaging effects to your braces and teeth.

Any foods which are hard… raw carrots, nuts, jawbreakers, some pizza crust, apples, hard rolls, etc… can chip your teeth even without braces. Once you are equipped with braces or other orthodontic equipment, these hard foods can loosen brackets, make wires break, and loosen the whole setup. When wires break they can stab and poke your kid’s mouth until they are repaired.

Many people love to chew ice. As a dentist, I try to discourage this behavior in all of my patients. For my patients with braces, I cannot emphasize enough how much damage this can do (read here more dental-bonding. Broken wires, coils, and hooks are common results. Not to mention all of the snapped bands which result.

Even though it is soft, soda should be avoided by anyone wearing braces. The sugar in soda provides a continuous food source for bacteria. Salivating and brushing usually wash away these sugars, but braces have spots where these sugars can hide. Using mouthwash helps to you avoid decay, but sugar intake needs to be limited.

If you are considering beef jerky or some other tough meat, know that these are infamous for loosening wires and brackets. Along these same lines, avoid chewing on anything that is not food. Chewing on pens, pencils, paper clips, etc… are fairly common habits, but extremely bad for your mouth. If you must chew on something, opt for fruit slices or a minty toothpick instead (do not chew it too long). For more information about different options for braces, go to our braces page.

Before treating gum, tooth, or other oral problems consult with Dr. JJ Edderai. A dental check-up every three to four months will allow Dr. Edderai to keep a watchful eye on your oral health and prevent cavities before they start. For answers to some of the most commonly asked questions, visit my FAQ page at

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