It is very important that you avoid sticky, chewy, hard, and crunchy foods while you are in braces. Also avoid harmful habits such as chewing on ice, pen caps, or your fingernails. These types of foods and habits can damage your braces, cause unnecessary complications, and extend your treatment time by many months.
Here is a brief list, courtesy of parenthood.com, of things that you should avoid while in braces:
- Apples: Don’t bite into a whole one! Cut it into thin wedges first.
- Bagels and hard rolls: Convicted culprits of bending wires and loosening brackets.
- Beef jerky: Your braces don’t stand a chance against this leathery food
- Bubble gum: Trust us, there’s nothing worse than spending hours picking gum from your braces.
- Candy canes or suckers: You might weaken and take a bite!
- Caramels and chewy candies: And you thought bubble gum was messy.
- Chicken wings: You can enjoy these if you first cut the meat off the bone.
- Corn chips: Anything that crunches when you bite it is bad news for braces.
- Corn on the cob: If you must, remove the kernels from the cob with a knife, then enjoy!
- Fingernails: Now’s the perfect time to kick that bad habit.
- Fruit Roll-Ups: See bubble gum.
- Gummi anything: See bubble gum.
- Hard candies: Can loosen wires and dislodge brackets.
- Hard cookies: Good news: You can have these if you soften them with milk.
- Ice cubes: No crunching!
- Nuts: All varieties—including peanuts, cashews and almonds—are off limits.
- Pears: Just like you would with apples, cut them into thin wedges first.
- Peanut brittle: Anything that crunches when you bite it is bad news for braces.
- Pens and pencils: Don’t laugh, a lot of students can’t stop chewing on these inedible school supplies.
- Pickles: If you have a craving, cut them into bite-sized pieces.
- Popcorn: Great with movies, bad with braces.
- Pizza Crust: Good news: the rest of the pie is fine!
- Pretzels: Bends wires, loosens bands and knocks off brackets.
- Raw carrots: If have a Bugs Bunny-like adoration for these orange veggies, steam or boil them for a much less crunchy consistency.
- Ribs: Just like you would with chicken wings, take the meat off the bone first.
- Sugary candy: Can lodge beneath brackets and wires, leading to tooth decay.
- Taffy: It’s best to avoid this stuff entirely—even if you don’t have braces!
There are many food items are not listed above, you should always use common sense when deciding what to eat. A rule of thumb is that if it looks hard or sticky, you should avoid eating it. Also to remember, with fruits such as apple or pears, make sure to cut it into bite size pieces before eating.
On the flip side of this, you can check out a list of OK foods to Eat While in Braces.