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What You Can and Can’t Eat With Braces

May 8, 2014
Indianapolis Braces

Orthodontic treatment is an important investment in your future. Everyone helping with your orthodontic treatment wants you to have the best results possible. While cleaning your teeth with braces is important, knowing which foods are bad for your teeth makes a huge difference in being able to take care of your teeth more easily. Eating with braces can be painful, challenging and even frustrating. However, eating with or without braces is basically the same – you need to stick with a tooth-friendly diet.

Why do you need to be mindful of what you eat when you are wearing braces?

Since it is challenging to brush and floss teeth with braces, food can get trapped in the tiny spaces between braces and wires, causing decay and enamel stains. There are certain foods that can also react with the bacteria in your mouth and the metal in the braces to produce a bleaching effect, which can cause small, permanent light spots on the teeth.

What You Can Eat with Braces

What You Can and Can't Eat with Braces
What You Can and Can't Eat with Braces

We already know how acidic foods can damage teeth and develop into cavities when frequently consumed over extended periods of time. We have a list of tooth-friendly foods that would be great for your diet.

When you are wearing braces, it is best to choose low-acid foods when you eat.

Less Tooth-Friendly Food List (High Acid)

  • Apples, cherries, oranges, peaches, pears, plums, pineapples
  • Tomatoes, pickles
  • Soft drinks, sports drinks, fruit drinks
  • Salsas, BBQ sauces

More Tooth-Friendly Food List (Low Acid)

  • Bananas, mangoes, melons
  • Carrots, cucumbers, generally all vegetables
  • Milk, water, lemon water
  • Meat, chicken, eggs, soup, pasta

You need to give saliva plenty of time to wash away acids that form after eating and drinking. A good rule to follow is to limit eating times each day to 3 meals and 2 snack times. You can drink plenty of water as often as you like!

What You Can’t Eat with Braces

While wearing braces, most foods can still be eaten if you cut them into small pieces that can be easily chewed. There are certain foods, however, that can break or loosen braces and should be avoided:

  • Sweets, soda and other sugary and starchy foods can promote tooth decay and gum disease.
  • Sticky and chewy foods (caramel, taffy, chewing gum, dried fruits) can stick to braces and be difficult to remove.
  • Biting and chewing hard foods, such as some candies and nuts, ice, beef jerky and popcorn, can break wires and loosen brackets.
  • Avoid damaging wires on the front teeth by cutting carrots, apples and other crunchy, healthy foods into bite-sized chunks before eating them.
  • Do not chew ice or bubble gum

Braces are an Investment

While the cost of braces is relatively high compared to a normal cleaning, the braces are not what you are actually paying for - you're paying for a lifetime of beautiful smiles - and that result is more than worth the cost.

Dr. Reese offers orthodontics for children and adults and is happy to offer you an orthodontic evaluation to discuss your particular concerns and options. Drop us a call at 317-882-0228 or email today!