smiling girl with braces holding orange juice at a picnic

Protect Teeth & Braces By Eating the Right Foods

While you are wearing braces, there are certain foods you should not eat to protect your braces from being damaged and make sure your teeth stay healthy. Please avoid eating hard foods, sticky foods, acidic foods, and foods high in sugar. Hard foods can break wires and brackets and sticky foods can get caught in the braces. Minimizing the amount of sugary food in your diet can reduce tooth decay and other problems.

Types of Food to Avoid During Orthodontic Treatment

  • Hard, Brittle & Crunchy Foods

  • Sticky Foods & Chewing Gum

  • Refined Sugar & Sweets

  • Acidic Foods & Beverages

Food Guidelines

When you have braces it is important that you use good judgement to determine which foods you can eat, and which foods you should avoid. Here are a few guidelines to help you decide for yourself.

No Hard Foods
  • Popcorn
  • Nuts & Peanut Brittle
  • Ice Chips or Cubes
  • Hard Candies
  • Chips
  • Candied Apples
  • Bagels & Pizza Crust
  • Pretzels
No Sticky Foods
  • Gum
  • Fruit Roll-Ups
  • Dried Fruits
  • Gummy Bears
  • Taffy & Caramels
  • Starburst & Skittles
  • Milk Duds
  • Jellybeans
Reduce Sugary Foods
  • Candy
  • Ice Cream
  • Soda & Sugary Drinks
  • Cake
  • Cookies
  • Pie
  • Table Sugar
  • Some Breakfast Cereals
Reduce Acidic Foods
  • Lemons & Limes
  • Grapefruits
  • Orange Juice
  • Citric Acid & Sour Candies
  • Soda
  • Energy Drinks
  • Sports Drinks
  • Spicy Foods
closeup of a hand cutting apples

Bite-Sized is Best Prepare Your Food for Braces

There are a few foods that can be challenging to eat with braces, but with the right preparation they can be enjoyed throughout orthodontic treatment. These foods include carrots, apples, crunchy French bread, and corn. You can cut most foods into bite-sized pieces and safely eat them without worrying about damage to your braces. Corn-on-the-cob should be avoided, but if you slice the kernels of corn off the cob they can be eaten in this manner.

Foods You Can Eat

closeup of a hand cutting apples

Prevent Damage to Braces Stop Bad Habits & Check Braces Often

We encourage patients to quit bad habits, like fingernail biting, tearing things with teeth, pushing your tongue against your teeth, and chewing on foreign objects like pens and pencils. All of these activities can break or damage your braces. It's important to regularly check your braces for bent or loose wires and brackets. If you have a loose/broken wire or bracket, please call our office immediately to arrange a repair appointment.

teenage boy brushing his teeth in the bathroom

Clean Your Teeth & Gums After Eating and Before Bed

No matter what you eat, it is important to clean your teeth and gum tissue thoroughly when you are finished with each meal or snack. You can use a regular toothbrush, electric toothbrush, or Waterpik. Removing food particles from your teeth and braces will help reduce plaque buildup so you can avoid tooth decay, gum disease, and oral infections.