Foods to Avoid with Braces

High-Quality Orthodontic Treatment in Lakewood, CA

At Lakewood Dental Arts, we're proud to provide world-class dental and orthodontic care to patients throughout Lakewood, CA and the surrounding areas. While we offer a variety of orthodontic treatments to our patients, our most popular treatment in still traditional metal braces. Modern braces are lighter, more attractive, and more convenient than ever, but if you do choose treatment with braces, there are a few adjustments you'll need to make to your lifestyle – and one of the biggest is diet.

Why Can't I Eat Certain Foods with Braces?

If you're getting treated with braces, your Lakewood orthodontist has probably told you that you need to avoid any foods that are hard, crunchy, sticky, gooey, or filled with sugar. But why is that, anyway? It turns out that while these foods may be no match for strong, healthy teeth when it comes to braces, they can pose an existential threat.

Hard, crunchy foods carry a risk of damaging or breaking off your brackets and wires. This is because when biting into food, the angle of the braces places bite pressure from the food on the side of the bracket, with the pressure running parallel to the surface of the tooth: exactly the angle at which the dental cement, which holds the brackets to your teeth, is weakest. Dental cement is strong and it's quite difficult to pull brackets off the teeth, but it's the weakest point is lateral resistance – and hard, crunchy foods put pressure at that weak spot.

Sticky foods, on the other hand, run the risk of getting stuck underneath the archwire or around brackets. This can cause a similar problem, potentially causing the bracket to pull off or damaging the archwire.

But what about sugary foods? While sugary foods don't necessarily pose a threat of damaging your braces, they do pose a serious risk of cavities: and during orthodontic treatment, that's something we want to avoid at all costs.  

Examples of Hard Foods to Avoid with Braces

If you're getting braces from our Lakewood orthodontic office, monitoring your diet and avoiding certain foods is one of the most important steps you can take to support successful treatment. Keep your braces safe by avoiding hard foods like these:

  • Nuts
  • Chips
  • Bread with a hard crust, like Dutch Crunch
  • Jolly ranchers & other hard candies
  • Lollipops
  • Hard pizza crust
  • Corn on the cob
  • Ice
  • Uncooked hard vegetables like carrots

Some of these foods, like carrots or apples, are ok to eat if cut into small, bite-size pieces. Just use caution, and remember that the integrity of your braces always comes first.

Examples of Sticky Foods to Avoid with Braces

Sticky foods can gum of brackets and archwires, so you'll want to steer clear during orthodontic treatment. Here are a few of the kinds of sticky foods you should avoid:

  • Tootsie rolls
  • Caramels
  • Toffee, both hard and saltwater
  • Starburst & Skittles
  • Gum (even sugar-free)
  • Sugar daddies & babies
  • Licorice

Sugary Foods to Avoid with Braces

Finally, foods that are packed with sugars and carbs can contribute to dental decay, a serious problem during orthodontic treatment. Avoid sugary foods like these:

  • Pie
  • Cake
  • Candy
  • Ice Cream
  • Cookies
  • Sugary drinks like soda or sweet tea

Bad Habits to Quit During Braces Treatment

Finally, in addition to monitoring your diet, there are a few bad habits you'll need to break during treatment if you have them. Biting your fingernails, chewing on pencils, or placing any foreign objects in your mouth can do damage to brackets and wires. During your braces treatment, it's best to make sure the only things you're chewing on are braces-safe foods and water!

Contact Your Lakewood, CA Orthodontist

Maintaining a braces-safe diet is one of the most important things you can do for your orthodontic success, and if you have more questions about how to keep your braces and your teeth strong and healthy during treatment, we're happy to answer them. Contact us today to learn more about taking care of braces, and if you ever do find a part of your braces that's damaged or broken, be sure to call us immediately at 562-866-1735. We look forward to hearing from you and wish you luck in keeping your braces safe during treatment!