Eating with Braces

There are some types of food that must be avoided while in braces. Other foods should be eaten carefully while in braces. Eating foods that are not compatible with braces can damage or dislodge the braces and lead to a longer treatment time than was originally estimated. Here are a few guidelines to follow.

  1. MOST HARD FOODS SHOULD NEVER BE EATEN. Hard foods are notorious for dislodging braces. Here are just a few examples of hard foods:
    Hard Candy
    Jaw Breakers
    Jolly Ranchers
    Ice Cubes
    Large Nuts
    Hard Pretzels

  2. SOME HARD FOODS CAN BE EATEN IF they are first sliced into smaller pieces and chewed with your back teeth. These foods include fruits and vegetables such as Apples and Carrots.

  3. MOST CHEWY/STICKY FOODS SHOULD NEVER BE EATEN. These foods will also easily dislodge the braces. Any food that requires a lot of effort to chew will usually damage the braces. Here are a few examples:
    Sticky Candy
    Gummi Bears
    Tootsie Rolls
    Jelly Beans
    Beef Jerky
    Chewing Gum
  1. Soft foods that must be “stripped or clipped” with the front teeth should be eaten differently. The following foods should be cut into small pieces (or removed from the cob) before they are eaten.
    Corn on the Cob Spare Ribs Chicken Wings

  2. POPCORN SHOULD NOT BE EATEN WHEN BRACES ARE ON THE TEETH. Remnants of the kernel husk frequently become lodged between the teeth and gums. These remnants can be impossible for the patient to remove when braces are attached to the teeth and can lead to severe pain and inflammation of the gums.

  3. Inedible items that are habitually chewed can easily damage the braces. Some examples are:
    Pencils Finger Nails

  4. FOODS AND BEVERAGES HIGH IN SUGAR CONTENT SHOULD BE USED SPARINGLY. Sugar contributes to tooth decay. Even patients without braces are vulnerable to tooth decay from a diet high in sugar content. After drinking or eating sugary foods or drinks, it is important to brush. If it is impossible to brush at that time, it can help to at least “swish” and rinse your mouth thoroughly with water.

    Patients who wear removable plastic aligners as an alternative to braces must be sure not to drink beverages with sugar while aligners are in the mouth. The fluid can remain trapped between the teeth and aligners. Aligners should be removed and rinsed, and the teeth should be brushed or rinsed whenever this happens.

    Here are just a few examples of foods and drinks high in sugar content. Some are also available in sugarless form which is an acceptable alternative.
    Soda Pop
    Coffee with Cream
    Fruit Juice
    Tic Tacs
    Iced Tea
    Breath Mints

This site was developed in conjunction with the
American Association of Orthodontists.

© 2003 American Association of Orthodontists