Congratulations! Now that you have braces, you’ve taken an important first step to enhancing your smile’s natural beauty and keeping your teeth healthy. You may also be realizing that many things we take for granted without braces – like the ability to bite directly into an apple or easily floss your teeth at night – are much more difficult or even unsafe now that you have braces!
It’s natural to have questions about what foods are safe to eat, which foods you should avoid, and how best to keep your braces clean.
You may be wondering, “Can I chew gum with braces?” or “How do I get the remains of tonight’s dinner out from my braces?” No one wants food stuck in the wires! This guide will give you a quick overview to learn more about the basics of caring for your new braces.
What Foods Can I Eat with Braces?
Good news! Many of the foods you love to eat every day can still safely be enjoyed with braces. There are some foods, however, that you may need to modify how you eat them, like cutting them into smaller pieces rather than biting directly into them. And yes, there are a few sticky foods that you may need to avoid altogether, unfortunately. Why? That’s because some foods may cause damage to the braces, get caught in the wires or elastics, or even break a wire or bracket. Yikes! Others may make it difficult to clean your teeth around the braces.
Avoid sticky or gooey foods. They can get stuck between your brackets and wires and create a serious mess!
- Starburst candies
- Gummy candies
- Fruit roll ups
- Chewy chocolate, caramel and toffee bars
- Tootsie rolls
- Other sticky or gooey foods
Watch out for these hard foods that can chip or otherwise damage your braces:
- Ice (it’s fine in drinks, but don’t bite down on an ice cube)
- Pizza crust
- Corn on the cob (don’t bite into the cob directly! Cut the kernels off first)
- Apples, celery and carrots (don’t bite into these hard foods; cut them into smaller pieces first)
- Nuts (be extra careful when snacking on nuts; larger nuts can damage your braces or get stuck between the wires)
Sugary Foods and Drinks
Minimize sugary foods. It’s always a good idea to keep your sugar intake under control, especially when you have braces and cannot brush your teeth as easily as you once could! Sugary foods increase the risk for cavities. Limit your intake of these sweets and ALWAYS swish your mouth with water after eating a sugary treat.
- Ice cream
- Soft candies (not on the earlier list)
- Crackers (be careful when biting into these!)
- Pretzels (be careful when biting into these!)
Sugary drinks should also be enjoyed only in moderation. Pop, sports and energy drinks, and even Vitamin water all contain sugars and acids that can coat your tongue and teeth. This increases the risk for cavities. Stick to water whenever possible, rather than drinking sugary beverages.
How Should I Care for My Braces?
Now that you have braces, make it a habit of swishing your mouth with water after you’ve had anything to eat or drink. A simple swish can help remove small food bits that were caught between your teeth and the wires or brackets of your braces. If possible, brush your teeth immediately after each meal. Remember, now that you have braces, it’s easier for foods to get stuck on your teeth and turn into a stick coating. Good hygiene is essential to protecting your teeth and keeping your smile healthy for life!