WE KNOW IT’S NOT FUN WHEN one of your favorite snacks—such as hard candy—is suddenly off the menu! But eating right while you have braces will make a big difference in avoiding emergencies or setbacks. Since navigating through the “DOs” and “DON’Ts” can be confusing, we’d like to share a few rules of thumb.
For the most part, foods that are bad for your braces are the same foods that are bad for your teeth. But right now, you have to be more careful than usual since tooth decay is trickier to care for while you’re wearing braces. If you’re wondering if a particular food item is okay, ask yourself the following questions:
1. How long will it be in my teeth?
- Things you suck on, like hard candies, are in your mouth for a long time, even if they’re not stuck in your teeth. Not good.
- Chewy things like taffy, caramels, or gummis get stuck in your teeth. And don’t forget dried fruit. It’s not candy, but it’s still sticky and sugary.
2. How much acid and sugar is there?
Sugary and acidic things are always bad for your teeth because they can cause wear and decay. The biggest sugar/acid combination is found in sodas and energy drinks. But keep an eye on the labels of other things you eat like granola bars and cereals. Sugar is hidden in even the most harmless-looking things.
3. Will it do damage to brackets and wires because it’s…
- Large: Things like apples or corn on the cob—things you just can’t tackle in one bite—need to be cut up.
- Tough: If you have to bite, then tug… That’s not good. (i.e. jerky or hard pizza crust)
- Hard: Jordan almonds and corn nuts can spell disaster for your brackets. Even raw vegetables can be risky—try them steamed instead