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Foods to Avoid for Healthy Teeth

Foods that Damage Your Teeth

Although you’ll still be able to eat or drink many foods while in orthodontic treatment (thank goodness!), there are certain food culprits that can damage orthodontic appliances and braces. You’ll need to be extra-aware of your eating habits during your treatment: the wrong foods can bend and distort wires, delaying your treatment and causing you to have to schedule extra visits for repairs.

Your Braces’ Biggest Enemies: Hard And Sticky Foods

In general, hard, brittle, crunchy and sticky foods should not be eaten during orthodontic treatment—hard crunchy foods can bend and break the braces and wires, while sticky foods may loosen them. The following is a list of only some of the foods you should avoid:

Hard Foods:

  • Popcorn
  • Nuts
  • Peanut brittle
  • Ice cubes
  • Hard candy
  • Hard chips
  • Candied apples
  • Corn-on-the-cob (corn off the cob is better)

Sticky Foods:

  • Fruit Roll-ups
  • Gummy bears
  • Taffy and caramels
  • Starburst
  • Bit-O-Honeys
  • Skittles
  • Milk Duds, etc.

Be Conscious Of Your Foods

Certain foods may be eaten if they are prepared in a special way. The idea is to minimize the hard and potentially damaging properties of these foods. You should slice whole fruits and vegetables or any raw foods such as apples, celery and carrots before you eat them. Tear hard crusty breads into smaller pieces and slice corn off the cob before you indulge. Be careful with these foods:

  • Freedent Gum (so it isn’t sticky, not sugarless)
  • Carrots— grate or cut into tiny pieces
  • Apples— cut into wedges – don’t bite from a whole apple

In addition to paying attention to the texture of your food, you should also limit foods with a high sugar content. Your saliva will break down the sugar in these foods into an acid. If you are going to eat carbohydrates or other sugary foods, do so during a meal. The mouth produces more saliva during a meal which, in turn, helps to neutralize acid production and rinse food from the mouth. If possible, brush immediately after eating. If that’s not possible, rinsing with clear water will help.

Lastly, though it’s not a food, one of the biggest threats to your orthodontics is ice. Chewing or sucking on ice can break your braces and your teeth. Ouch!

You should use your own good judgment while eating anything. And no matter what you eat, please remember to clean the teeth and gum tissue thoroughly afterwards— especially before bedtime.