Having dental braces can be tough. They’re great in the long-run because they help you fix your teeth and make your smile prettier. However, they’re tough to manage. Brushing and flossing are harder when you have your braces getting in the way, and if that isn’t enough, you also have to keep in mind what foods you should avoid with braces.
What Foods Can and Cannot Be Eaten With Braces?
There are two main categories of food for when you have braces: foods you should try to avoid, and foods you should eliminate entirely.
Foods to Eliminate
Sugar is bad for your teeth as it is, but it’s also bad for your braces. With hard candies particularly, you might be tempted to chew them, which can ruin your brackets and wires. On top of that, pieces of the candy can get stuck in your braces too.
Sticky food tends to get caught in your braces, and cleaning them can be a challenge. Some of the worst things for your braces are chewing gum and caramel. However, other sticky foods like maple syrup are also big no-nos.
You may not realize it, but habits, like biting your fingernails or chewing on your pens, are also bad for your braces and can damage them. Getting rid of such habits can be tough since it happens unconsciously.
Foods to Avoid
While there are foods that are not entirely off-limits, they aren’t doing your braces any favors. Avoid them whenever possible.
Hard candies are bad for you. However, other hard foods can also be bad for your braces. This can be anything from nuts to pizza crust that needs force to bite through it. The effort will put pressure on your braces and damage the wires and brackets. If you can soften any of these foods, e.g., by cooking vegetables or using broth to soften bread, you should do that.
Some meats like beef jerky or meat from the bones can loosen the wires and brackets, so it is best to careful.
Using ice for drinks is okay, but biting and chewing ice is one of the biggest contributors to damaged braces, so make sure you don’t do that. Sucking on ice chips is okay, though, as long as no biting takes place.
There are also some foods that are otherwise okay to eat, but it is best to cut them into smaller, bite-sized pieces to make eating them easier and avoid damage to your braces. These include lean meats, vegetables, fruits (especially if they’re raw), bread, and pizza.
It doesn’t take much to damage your braces, which is why you have to be very careful. The cost of going to the dentist and repairing your braces is probably not going to be worth that one snack.