Braces aren’t just for kids; more adults are opting to get them.
A good smile and oral health are important to general well-being and comfortable aging. One of the drawbacks to braces is that you have to be careful what you eat. Some foods can damage delicate components, or get trapped and cause tooth decay. To make your experience a little easier, here are some foods to avoid.
Foods that Can Damage Braces
Anything that requires much bite force is a bad choice, as this can bend wires, or pop brackets loose. This includes hard candy, ice, taffy and similar chewy treats, jerky, dehydrated fruits, and heavy breads such as bagels.
Some foods, although soft, shouldn’t be eaten, because you’ll spend extra time picking and cleaning leftovers out of your braces. This includes raw cookie dough, chewing gum, caramels, stringy meats, and gummy bears or other soft chewables.
Foods Known to Cause Decay
Certain foods are always harmful to tooth enamel, but your teeth are even more susceptible when you’re wearing braces. This means no candy, or sugary deserts that contain bits of sweetened chocolate or sprinkles. Extra-sweet foods like maple syrup and ice cream toppings are also a bad choice.
Foods that Require Extra Caution
Sometimes these foods can be safe or healthy to eat, if you’re careful, but in general they are best avoided for those with orthodontics. This includes favorites like apples and other hard fruits, which can be tough to bite into. Also raw vegetables like carrots or broccoli. Cut them into pieces first, or steam them until they’re soft. Be careful eating meats with bones in them, even chicken wings, as a misplaced bite on a hard bone can do considerable damage.
Foods with high acidity can damage enamel and stain teeth. These should be avoided as your teeth are that much harder to care for with braces, and damaging the enamel could lead to unpleasant results from uneven discoloring when the braces are removed. Acidic foods such as lemons, limes, and fizzy sodas should be avoided, as well as tooth-staining beverages like strong coffee and tea.
Foods that Get Trapped
Some favorite snacks may not seem especially hard to chew, but they quickly get reduced to small, hard particles than can get trapped between teeth or in uncomfortable places, which is especially bad for those with braces. This includes popcorn, nuts, and seeds.
Chips and pretzels may not seem especially hard to chew, but larger pieces turned at the wrong angle can bend wires. Avoid these foods, including crunchy breadsticks and hard taco shells. If you have to have a few chips with your sandwich, make them Pringles or traditional potato chips that break down quicker and easier into softer pieces.
Your orthodontist is highly trained and qualified, and provides a custom (expensive) solution to straightening YOUR teeth. Don’t derail progress and prolong your own treatment by making bad choices. Watch what you eat.