When you wear braces, you know there are plenty of foods that you aren’t supposed to eat until they come off again. Unfortunately, remembering which foods those are can be difficult! By memorizing this list of five key foods to avoid, you’ll be able to successfully navigate your years with braces and ensure that all of your appliances remain unbroken.
Raw Fruits and Vegetables That Crunch
There’s nothing quite like biting straight into a fresh apple or crunching on a carrot stick. Unfortunately, as long as you have braces, you’ll want to make those foods a little smaller before you dive in and start crunching on them. “Apples, carrots, celery, pears, and other crunchy fruits and vegetables are best enjoyed in small pieces that can go straight to your back teeth,” said Webb Family Orthodontics. Bite into them the normal way, and you may find yourself popping off brackets, bending wires, and causing other problems that will then have to be repaired. Since the last thing you want is to add another trip to the orthodontist to your schedule, try cooking these foods or enjoying them cut into smaller slices for the time being.
Crunchy Snack Foods
You’ve probably already been lectured on the dangers of popcorn which, in addition to its ability to stick between your teeth and braces in ways that are almost impossible to get out, can also cause brackets to pop off and wires to bend if you get a piece that’s too crunchy. Unfortunately, there are other snack foods that also represent problems when you have braces. Crunchy chips, thin crust pizza crusts, and hard shell tacos should all be avoided as long as you have your braces.
If your favorite dessert is a sticky piece of taffy or a caramel apple, wearing braces may be a long, hard process for you. Sticky candy is more likely to stick to your braces than it is to stick to your teeth. That means that before you know it, you’ll be pulling brackets off, twisting wires, or even getting the candy stuck where you can’t get it loose. Instead of indulging and finding yourself in trouble, find different types of candy to enjoy while you’re wearing your braces. You never know: you might just find a new favorite that’s even better than your previous indulgences. Also, note that gum should always be avoided. The latest recommendation even says that sugar-free gum isn’t appropriate when you’re wearing braces. Don’t worry: it’ll still be there once you have your braces removed.
Beef jerky and other tough meets might be a regular part of your diet, but they’re a treat that most people don’t think twice about. Because of the amount of time you have to spend chewing these hard foods, however, you shouldn’t eat them while you’re wearing your braces. They can loosen brackets and wires or even detach them completely, causing serious problems that will result in the need for a trip to the orthodontist. Go ahead and pass on the beef jerky for the time being. At least it gives you a good excuse for not eating Grandma’s overcooked pot roast!
Ice and Other Non-Food Items
It’s easy to fall into the habit of chewing on things that aren’t food. You might have had the habit before you got your braces and never felt the need to put a stop to it, or you might have picked up a chewing habit–gnawing on the end of a pen or crunching ice, for example–after your braces were in, often in response to the discomfort. Unfortunately, these are habits that can be very hard on your braces! As a good rule of thumb, if it isn’t food, keep it out of your mouth. Never use your teeth to open something while you’re wearing braces.
Learning what foods you have to avoid while wearing braces takes time. By knowing what foods must be avoided, however, you can develop better habits that will keep your braces doing their job every day. Remember, the better care you take with them, the sooner you’ll be able to have them taken off–and that means eating what you want again.