What to avoid when my child has braces?

- December 06, 2019

Food That Should be Avoided with Braces

The following foods should be avoided with braces:

  • Whole apples & pears – rather than biting into hard fruits, cut it up into small, thin pieces
  • Carrots & Other Raw Vegetables – biting into a whole carrot can break the wire or bracket. Cut the carrot into thin sticks or rounds to enjoy them raw or cook to soften before eating
  • Hard or crusty bread – not all bread needs to be given up, it’s just the hard rolls, hard bread and pizza crusts that are the problem. Choose a soft variety of bread or remove hard crusts
  • Popcorn – popcorn kernels can easily become stuck in braces or under the gum in a spot that is difficult to access without removing part of the braces
  • Nuts – most nuts are hard and can dislodge brackets and break wires. Ground and flaked nuts are fine to eat
  • Corn on the Cob – biting into corn on the cob is a recipe for disaster. Use a sharp knife to cut the corn off before eating
  • Tough Meat – try to only eat soft meats that don’t require a lot of chewing
  • Caramel– sticky foods can become stuck to brackets and arch wires, causing breakages. Even if a breakage doesn’t occur the first time, the damage is often cumulative and subsequent pieces may cause dislodged hardware
  • Licorice – not only does black licorice look terrible stuck in braces but chewy licorice causes breakages
  • Lollies – most lollies are either hard or chewy so be careful which ones they eat while wearing braces. It’s also important to brush soon after consuming lollies as the sugar can cause decay and teeth staining
  • Beef Jerky – some people love this salty snack but it takes a lot of chewing to get through and can damage braces
  • Chewing Gum – a stick of gum isn’t much fun with braces. Once it gets stuck in the grooves of the brackets and around the wire, it’s difficult to get out
  • Soft Drink – high sugar drinks can cause decay. It is best to avoid sugary drinks with braces. The sugar can stay on the teeth causing them to stain which can be more noticeable after the braces come off
  • Ice – it’s fine to keep drinks cold with ice as long as your child isn’t tempted to crunch on a piece of ice otherwise the next sound you hear could be the braces
  • Turmeric – if your child loves Indian and Middle East meals, try to steer them towards dishes that don’t contain turmeric. The yellow spice powder can stain braces and Invisalign retainers so it’s best avoid Indian food with braces

You may need to remind your child what they can and can’t eat, particularly during the first few months. Show your child how quick and easy it is to cut up their snack into bite-sized pieces so they don’t eat foods without preparing them properly.

It’s important to encourage your child with braces to brush and floss their teeth at least twice a day. It doesn’t matter how healthy their diet may be, teeth always need brushing. Even healthy foods like fruit aren’t enamel-friendly. Keeping teeth free of food debris and plaque helps with tooth movement and avoiding decay and staining.