Which Foods Should I Avoid To Prevent Damage To Braces?

One key element of having braces is how to handle eating, which should be a fun thing to do! The good news is that there are lots of diet options while your braces are on, and today, Mack Orthodontics is here to answer the question: Which foods should I avoid to prevent damage to braces?

The Importance of Your Diet

Besides the nutritional side of things, choosing smart foods to eat with your braces is important since the damage is inconvenient and, frankly, can get expensive over time. On top of that, it will inevitably extend your treatment time. Braces consist of a few elements that can be vulnerable to damage, particularly wires and brackets, which are affixed to teeth.

The Bad Choices

We’ll be covering both bad diet options and good diet options for you today as recommended by Dr. Mack, but let’s start with the bad so you know what to avoid: 

  1. Chewy Foods: 
    • Bagels or dinner rolls can seem innocent, but tough pieces of bread can be hard to bite into and cause strain.
  2. Hard/Crunchy Foods:
    • Hard candy causes trouble since biting down can damage your braces.
    • Popcorn can be an issue with kernels getting stuck.
    • Raw vegetables like carrots should always be cut into small, manageable pieces or avoided altogether. 
    • Chips can clump together when chewed and be especially hard to clean from teeth and back molars.
  3. Sugary Foods:
    • Sugary snacks and drinks can lead to plaque buildup and cavities around the brackets and wires. The same goes for sodas and sweetened juices, which are often high in acids as well as sugar and can erode enamel. With or without braces, watch your sugar intake for your teeth’s sake.
  4. Sticky Foods:
    • Caramel and toffee can stick to brackets and wires, making them difficult to clean off.
    • Gum can potentially become tangled around the components and be hard to remove.
    • Gummy candies can pull on your braces and dislodge brackets.
  5. Other Foods:
    • Tough meats, like steak or beef jerky, can easily loosen components.
    • Large bites of food can be problematic—sometimes, even if the food seems safe! Smaller bites will always be easier to consume and will avoid applying excess pressure to your braces.
    • Pizza crust is a particularly common culprit, as it is a favorite food of child and teenage patients. Consider skipping the crust!
Which Foods Should I Avoid To Prevent Damage To Braces?

The Good Choices

Now for the smarter route. Mack Orthodontics wants to emphasize that you can have a balanced, delicious diet with braces! Of course, one should consider any intolerances or allergies on this list, though some substitutes exist that can be good, too. 

  1. Soft Fruits:
    • Bananas are easy to chew and packed with nutrients.
    • Berries can be naturally bite-sized. Blueberries and raspberries are soft and healthy options.
    • Melons like honeydew, cantaloupe, and watermelon can easily be cut into cubes or balls. They’re hydrating and great for warmer weather.
    • Applesauce is a great way for apple lovers to get their fix without risk of damage.
  2. Soft Vegetables:
    • Steamed or cooked veggies like carrots, broccoli, potatoes, spinach, and green beans are all great options when they are softened. 
    • Avocado is naturally creamy and good for your health.
  3. Dairy/Non-Dairy Products:
    • Yogurt is every patient’s best friend and can be dressed in many different flavors. 
    • Cheeses that are naturally soft, like brie, goat’s cheese, or cottage cheese, can be delicious on many dishes.
    • Dairy also can provide essential calcium for your bones and teeth.
  4. Soft Proteins:
    • Eggs are excellent in any form. Scrambled, fried, boiled, poached—the options are endless.
    • Fish like salmon, cod, and tilapia are all soft and flaky.
    • Chicken can be a good option when boiled or baked, and shredded chicken can be easier to consume. 
    • Tofu is also super soft and dynamic in a number of dishes
  5. Beans, Grains, Pasta:
    • Cooked pasta can be made flavorful with many sauces or added proteins.
    • Rice is an easy, vital component of meals all over the world. Try different varieties for flavor. 
    • Soft bread is great in sandwiches or toasted.
  6. Soups and Stews:
    • Broth-based soups like chicken noodles, vegetables, and minestrone are all easy on braces.
    • Creamy soups like tomato, potato, and pumpkin soup are filling and delicious.
    • Stews are a great shortcut to easily soften meat and hard vegetables, making them very tender.
  7. Sweets and Snacks:
    • Smoothies are our top choice here since they can be naturally sweet and include fruits, veggies, and yogurt.
    • Ice cream and frozen yogurt can also be yummy choices, though they are in moderation due to high sugar content. 
    • Soft baked goods like muffins, pancakes, or cupcakes have the same guidelines! Easy to eat, but only every once in a while.
Which Foods Should I Avoid To Prevent Damage To Braces?

A Friendly Way to Feast

Dr. Mack and the rest of our Mack Orthodontics team want life with braces to go as smoothly as possible for our patients. This includes being happy with what they eat! Be sure to reach out to our Burlington or Hillsborough offices for any further questions.