Which Foods Should I Avoid To Prevent Damage To Braces?

Maintaining a balanced diet is crucial when you have braces, but it doesn’t have to be super restrictive. Fortunately, there are numerous food choices that are braces-friendly! So Thacker Orthodontics is here to answer this key question: Which foods should I avoid to prevent damage to braces?

Dialing In on Your Diet

In addition to nutritional considerations, choosing foods that are compatible with braces is essential to avoid inconvenience and the potential cost of repairs. Damage to braces can also extend the duration of your treatment, which may already be lengthy based on your specific orthodontic needs. Braces traditionally consist of multiple components, such as wires and brackets, which are particularly prone to damage from food.

What to Avoid

We’ll be covering both bad diet options and good diet options for you today as recommended by Dr. Jim and Dr. MaryEvan, but let’s start with the bad so you know what to avoid: 

  1. Chewy Foods: 
    • Bagels and Dinner Rolls: Pieces of bread can be tough or difficult to bite into despite looking soft. This can place a considerable strain on your braces.
  2. Hard/Crunchy Foods:
    • Hard Candy: Hard candy is a classic culprit for causing damage.
    • Popcorn: Kernels and other debris can get trapped in your teeth and braces and be extremely difficult to clean out.
    • Raw Vegetables: If you’re trying to incorporate raw vegetables into your diet, you should always shred or cut them into smaller pieces.
    • Chips: Chips will often clump up and get stuck in molars and braces.
  3. Sticky Foods:
    • Caramel and Toffee: These treats will stick to brackets and wires every time—it’s good to stay away from them!
    • Gummy Candies: These can pull on your braces and dislodge brackets from your teeth.
  4. Other Foods:
    • Tough Meats: Steak or beef jerky will often loosen components.
    • Large Bites of Food: Even normally harmless foods can pose issues when consumed in big bites. Smaller bites are always gentler on your braces, allowing you to chew fully through your food.
    • Pizza Crust: Deep dish pizza crust can become hard as it cools down. Consider leaving the crust behind!
Which Foods Should I Avoid To Prevent Damage To Braces?

Good Foods for Braces

Let’s consider a more mindful approach. At Thacker Orthodontics, we emphasize that you can enjoy a nutritious and delicious diet even with braces! Be mindful of any allergies or sensitivities, but rest assured that there are often excellent alternatives that provide similar textures.

  1. Soft Vegetables:
    • Steamed or Cooked Veggies: Vegetables like carrots, broccoli, potatoes, spinach, and green beans can all be softened when cooked down.
    • Avocado: Avocados can be eaten raw and are naturally great for you.
  2. Soft Fruits:
    • Bananas: Extremely nutritious and easy to consume. 
    • Berries: Berries can be great to add to recipes or smoothies or to eat on the go.
    • Melons: Honeydew, cantaloupe, and watermelon can be cut into cubes or balls. They’re hydrating and ideal for warmer weather.
  3. Soft Proteins:
    • Eggs: In all forms, eggs can be nutritious and braces-friendly.
    • Fish: Salmon, cod, and tilapia are all flaky and yummy.
    • Chicken: Shredded, baked, and boiled chicken is much more manageable than fried alternatives.
    • Tofu: Tofu can be adapted into countless vegan and vegetarian recipes, and dressed well with seasons and sauces. 
  4. Dairy/Non-Dairy Products:
    • Yogurt: Versatile and available in various flavors.
    • Soft Cheeses: Brie, goat cheese, or cottage cheese can elevate many dishes.
  5. Beans, Grains, Pasta:
    • Cooked Pasta: Pasta can be eaten hot or cold and is generally easy to eat.
    • Rice: A staple in cuisine worldwide. Experiment with various types of proteins and vegetables for diverse flavors.
  6. Sweets and Snacks:
    • Smoothies and Juices: Raw juices or smoothies are the optimal way to get all of your fruits and vegetables into your diet without issue.
    • Soft Baked Goods: Baked treats like muffins, pancakes, or cupcakes are easy to consume but can be enjoyed sparingly due to the higher sugar content. Try to find alternative ways to sweeten your recipes.

FAQs About Eating with Braces

Q: What should I do if a wire or bracket breaks?

A: Always contact Thacker Orthodontics immediately if any damage occurs to your appliance. Never attempt to repair it yourself; it should only be handled by professionals.

Q: Will braces affect my ability to taste food?

A: They shouldn’t! You might notice slight changes at the very beginning due to the new presence of braces in your mouth. Over time, these sensations should normalize.

Q: How can I ensure I’m getting enough nutrition with braces?

A: Focus on a balanced diet that includes fruits, vegetables, protein, and dairy products if tolerated. If you have any questions, feel free to ask our doctors. Additionally, there are many excellent resources and blogs online to help with recipes and meal planning with braces.

Which Foods Should I Avoid To Prevent Damage To Braces?

Smart, Happy, and Healthy

Our team at Thacker Orthodontics aims to make life with braces as simple and happy as possible, including helping you make excellent food choices! If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to contact our wonderful Cincinnati and Hillsboro offices for more information.