Got Braces? Avoid These Foods

People who wear braces might be familiar with the basic list of foods to avoid, like sticky candy and gum. However, some of our favorite foods and condiments can also ruin the wires or stain the elastic ligatures – the little rubber bands on each bracket that hold the arch wire in place.  

You might feel proud of yourself for choosing a hot dog at the last cookout instead of meat from the bone that can get stuck in your braces. But, if you paired it with mustard, you might not be proud of the new stains on your ligatures that even brushing can’t fix. Here’s a guide to eating with braces and foods to avoid. 

Got Braces? Foods to Avoid:
  • Yellow mustard can dye the bonding as well as stain the clear ligatures on your braces. The seeds in whole grain mustard can also be trouble to remove for some people with braces. 
  • Turmeric is another flavorful favorite that can leave its mark on clear ligatures. 
  • Popcorn can cause discomfort for people without braces, so imagine the grief popcorn kernels and husks can bring for braces-wearers. This snack is a common offender, often breaking wires and brackets, and can make you more susceptible to cavities. 
  • Raw fruits and vegetables – yes, they belong on this list! Uncooked apples and carrots that haven’t been cut, for example, require us to bite into them with our two front teeth, which can break brackets. 
  • Chewing ice may seem like a quick way to cool off, but it’s also a quick way to end up in pain if you wear braces. The pressure from chewing on hard ice with braces can lead to an emergency visit to the orthodontist for repairs. Chewing ice can also chip pieces of the enamel off your teeth, even if you don’t wear braces. 

Remember to brush your teeth with a soft-bristled brush after every meal, especially around the brackets where food tends to get stuck. You might be tempted to use whitening toothpaste, but remember that the parts of your teeth covered by braces won’t get those benefits.   

Pro tip: Use an interdental toothbrush to clear the spaces between the metal and your teeth. Use a floss threader to get under the wires.