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A Comprehensive List of Foods to Avoid with Braces

A Comprehensive List of Foods to Avoid with Braces

Braces offer plenty of important benefits beyond having a more beautiful smile. With braces, you can improve bite issues, reduce your risk of oral health problems, and avoid more serious complications in the future.

But to get the most from your treatment, you need to take special care of your teeth and your appliances too. That means paying close attention to what you eat.

Brendan Smith, DDS, MS, and our team at Freedom Orthodontics help you learn important tips for living with braces, so you can reduce your risk of cavities, gum disease, and damage to your appliances. In this post, learn which foods you should avoid during your braces treatment.


There’s no denying nuts pack some powerful health benefits. Unfortunately, even softer nuts are hard enough to break your wires or brackets. Stick with nut butters or powders to satisfy your nut cravings until your braces come off.

Chewing gum

Chewing gum is a habit you definitely need to give up while wearing braces. Gum can easily get wrapped around your brackets and wires, where it’s pretty much impossible to remove. That means a trip to our office and, usually, new brackets and wires.

Hard, chewy, or sticky candy

Gummy candies, hard candies, toffee, taffy, or any other chewy candy are all no-nos for anyone wearing braces. Not only can these candies break your wires or get trapped in your brackets, but they come with a hefty dose of sugar that can increase your risk of cavities.


Many of us chew on the ice left in our glass after a cold beverage, but doing so can damage your braces — and it’s not good for your teeth either.


Delicious and (without butter) healthy, popcorn can damage your wires or get lodged in your brackets. The same is true for popcorn snacks, including toffee-coated popcorn and popcorn “crackers.”

Crunchy fruits and veggies

Biting into corn on the cob, raw carrots, or whole apples can damage your wires. Instead, slice or cut carrots and apples into smaller, bite-sized pieces, and cut corn off the cob before eating.

Bagels or hard rolls

Chewy bagels or hard rolls can bend or even snap your wires, and they can get trapped in your brackets too. Not only can that mean an extra trip to our office, but it can also make cleaning your braces particularly difficult.

Pizza crust

We’re not talking about the whole crust here — it’s mainly the crunchy or chewy outer border that causes problems with braces. Without toppings to soften it, the outer crust can be especially chewy, increasing your risk of wire breakage or bracket damage.


Hard or chewy, pretzels are another snack you should probably avoid while you’re wearing braces. Both hard and chewy pretzels can break your wires, and chewy or soft pretzels can get stuck in your brackets.

Foods with hard seeds

Poppy seeds, chia seeds, sesame seeds, and other tiny seeds can get lodged between your teeth or gums, and flossing them out can be difficult with braces. That’s true for some fruit seeds, too, like blackberry seeds.

Limit sweets

One final note: Sweet snacks, including soda, can lead to plaque build-up on your teeth and around your gums. Brushing can eliminate plaque, but braces make it harder to reach those nooks and crevices where plaque hides. Limiting sweet snacks reduces your risk of cavities and other problems during treatment.

If you do wind up damaging your braces, don’t panic. All it takes is a visit to our office to repair your braces and get your treatment back on track.

To learn more about living with braces and what you can do to make sure your treatment proceeds without a hitch, call Freedom Orthodontics or book an appointment online today.

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