Why Can’t I Eat It? 10 Foods to Avoid During Orthodontic Treatment

Braces-friendly foods

Smiles are contagious, and we want our families to have radiant smiles. If you are undergoing orthodontic treatment, you might have encountered some challenges. We understand that it can be frustrating to avoid your favorite treats, but we’re about to dive into the world of orthodontics and reveal the 10 foods that are best avoided during treatment. 

Brace Yourself: Say Goodbye to These 10 Foods During Orthodontic Treatment!

By understanding which foods to steer clear of, we can ensure that your braces or aligners work their magic as effectively as possible, giving you a fantastic smile to show off in no time. So, let’s embark on this culinary journey and discover how a little bit of food mindfulness can go a long way in achieving that picture-perfect smile for your family. And don’t worry, we’ll share some braces-friendly foods, too, because we know how important it is to indulge those taste buds even during your braces treatment.

1. Sticky Candies

Candies, such as caramels, taffies, and gummies, can easily get stuck in your braces, making them difficult to clean, increasing the risk of plaque buildup, and potentially causing damage. But these treats aren’t just bad for you when wearing braces. Sticky candy poses a challenge when it comes to removing it, as it tends to cling to the teeth for an extended period. This prolonged exposure allows harmful bacteria to thrive and multiply, feeding on the sugar and contributing to tooth decay.

2. Popcorn

The hard kernels and husks of popcorn can get lodged in your braces, leading to discomfort and the potential for broken brackets or wires. Popcorn can be bad for your teeth even without braces, especially when it comes to unpopped kernels and hulls. Biting down on these hard kernels can lead to dental emergencies, such as chipped teeth or damaged dental work, highlighting the importance of caution when consuming popcorn.

3. Hard and Crunchy Snacks 

Biting into hard snacks (think pretzels and chips) can put pressure on your braces, leading to broken brackets or wires. While you might not think of foods like pretzels and chips as being potentially hazardous, these foods are considered a hard food and can damage your braces. Opt for softer alternatives to protect your orthodontic appliances.

4. Chewing Gum

Gum can stick to your braces, making it challenging to clean and potentially causing damage. Additionally, the constant chewing motion can strain your braces, hindering their effectiveness. You can resume chewing gum when your braces treatment concludes, but it is important to know that sugar-sweetened gum can increase your risk for tooth decay and cavities. Sugar-free gum is a much better alternative when it comes to protecting your oral health.

5. Hard Fruits and Vegetables

Biting directly into hard produce like apples and carrots isn’t good for your braces and can potentially cause damage. Cut them into smaller, bite-sized pieces or choose softer alternatives (see our suggestions later) to enjoy their nutritional benefits. And remember that these foods are also very good for you after braces treatment.

6. Tough Meats

Meats that require excessive chewing (such as steak and beef jerky) can strain your braces. Similar to some of the other foods mentioned here, meats that are chewy or tough are enemy number one for your braces brackets and wires! Opt for softer meat options to minimize the risk of damaging your braces.

7. Hard Bread and Rolls

Crusty bread and rolls can be tough to bite into and may cause damage to your braces. Choose softer bread alternatives to enjoy without risking harm to your orthodontic appliances. If you’re faced with a crusty roll and are determined to eat it, make sure you break it into smaller pieces to go easy on your braces—but we recommend you stick to softer breads. 

8. Nuts and Seeds

Hard nuts and seeds can get trapped in your braces, causing discomfort and increasing the risk of damage. There is nothing more frustrating than the constant niggle of a seed lodged between your teeth that you can’t reach. Opt for nut butter or enjoy these snacks after completing your orthodontic treatment.

9. Carbonated and Sugary Drinks

Sodas and sugary drinks are harmful to oral health and can increase the risk of cavities. Not only do sugary drinks like soda and sports drinks break down your braces and weaken your teeth, but they’re also not good for you in general. In fact, carbonated and sugary drinks are detrimental to your dental health due to their high sugar content and acidity. Consuming these beverages regularly can lead to tooth decay, cavities, enamel erosion, and increased plaque buildup, which can jeopardize the health and appearance of your teeth.

10. Sticky Sauces and Foods

Foods with sticky consistencies can adhere to your braces, making cleaning difficult and potentially causing damage. Not only do they stick to your teeth for a long time, but the temptation to forcibly remove them can result in bent or broken wires. Avoid these types of foods to maintain the integrity of your braces.

Smile-Safe Delights: 5 Braces-Friendly Foods to Savor!

When it comes to orthodontic treatment, there’s no need to fret over restricted options. Embrace the positive side of the journey with these braces-friendly foods that will keep your taste buds happy and your orthodontic appliances in check. Here are 5 delicious options to savor.

1. Yogurt

This creamy and smooth treat is not only gentle on your braces, but also packed with essential nutrients like calcium. Opt for plain or low-sugar varieties for the best oral health benefits. Looking for a fun play on yogurt? Try this frozen banana “ice cream” recipe.

2. Soft Fruits

Enjoy the juicy goodness of soft fruits like berries, bananas, and melons. These options are easy to bite into and won’t put undue pressure on your braces. Plus, they provide a host of vitamins and antioxidants for your overall well-being.

3. Cooked Vegetables

Steamed or cooked vegetables like tender broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots make for excellent braces-friendly options. They retain their nutritional value while being easier to chew and enjoy without risking harm to your braces. Want a fun play on those cooked veggies? Try this steamed vegetables with chile-lime butter recipe.

4. Smoothies

Get creative and blend a variety of fruits and vegetables to create delicious and nutritious smoothies. With endless combinations to choose from, you can enjoy a refreshing drink that’s both braces-friendly and packed with vitamins.

5. Soft Grains

Opt for softer grains like oatmeal, quinoa, and couscous, which are gentle on your braces while still providing valuable nutrients and fiber. These options make for versatile meal bases that can be paired with various toppings and flavors.

Remember, while these braces-friendly foods offer a range of options, it’s essential to practice good oral hygiene and maintain a balanced diet throughout your orthodontic journey.

Bon Appétit: Embracing a Smile-Worthy Orthodontic Journey!

As we bid adieu to our culinary exploration of braces-friendly (and not-so-friendly) foods, remember that orthodontic treatment is a temporary but transformative phase on the path to your dream smile. While it can be challenging to navigate dietary restrictions, practicing food mindfulness is a small price to pay for the remarkable results that await you. So, savor the braces-friendly delights and maintain good oral hygiene, knowing that each bite brings you closer to the stunning outcome that clear braces, traditional metal braces, and orthodontics have in store for you. 

If you are overdue for your dental cleaning or you have more questions about braces-friendly foods, there is no time like the present to request an appointment with Compass Dental Group, your family dentist near Maryville, MO. We look forward to seeing you and helping you achieve a happy and healthy smile.

In the meantime, bon appétit, and brace on!

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