Eating While Wearing Braces or Orthodontic Appliances

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Eating While Wearing Braces or Orthodontic Appliances 

Certain types of foods should be avoided completely or eaten with extreme care.  Here are some general guidelines to follow when eating with braces.

Do Not Eat Hard Foods Whole      

Hard foods pose the biggest threat to braces and orthodontic appliances.  They can dislodge the brackets and snap the wires.  Foods that should never be eaten whole include:     

  • Hard candy

  • Popcorn (the kernels can break the brackets or cause gum inflammation if they get stuck between teeth)

  • Ice cubes

  • Unsliced hard fruits and vegetables

  • Hard potato chips

  • Gumballs       

There are many firm, healthy foods, such as fruits and vegetables, that should still be consumed but need to be prepared first.  The best way to eat fruits and vegetables, such as carrots and apples, without damaging braces is to slice or dice them into small pieces.  This will make them easier to eat and reduce the chance of breaking your braces or dislodging your orthodontic appliance.

Similarly, foods which are generally eaten off the bone or the cob must be must be completely taken off the bone or cob and cut into tiny pieces.  Biting into these types of foods may dislodge or break appliances. 

Do Not Eat Sticky Foods

Sticky foods can pull wires from brackets and the brackets from your teeth.  They also tend to wrap around brackets, making them look stained and unattractive.  Examples of sticky foods include:

  • Gum

  • Taffy

  • Jerky

  • Caramel

  • Chocolate bars containing caramel


Do Not Chew On Inedible Items

Chewing on pencils, crayons, pens or fingernails can easily damage braces and orthodontic devices.  In addition, do not use your teeth as a tool to tear materials such as tape, or to open a package, or as an extra "hand" to hold an item - not only is this harmful to your teeth, it can damage braces and orthodontic devices.


Avoid Sugary Foods and Drinks

The sugary liquid can become trapped between the device and teeth, which expedites the decay process.  Some sugary foods and beverages to avoid include: 

  • Milk

  • Soda

  • Breath mints

  • Iced tea

  • Jam and jelly

  • Cereals

  • Fruit juice

If you have any questions or concerns about what foods to eat while wearing braces or an orthodontic device, please feel free to contact our office at 517-393-8500.

Day Family Dental

Dr. Nathan Day, DMD • Dentist • Lansing, MI


We combine experience with the latest in dental technology to deliver the best patient experience possible.