September 27, 2023
Learn all about what foods to avoid when you have braces to improve your oral health. Our guide covers the foods that might cause damage to your braces, how to make eating more comfortable, and healthy alternatives.


Having braces requires a lot of adjustments to your daily routine, including your diet. Certain foods can damage your braces or make them difficult to clean, which can lead to tooth decay, discoloration, or even prolonging your treatment. In this article, we’ll provide a guide for the different types of foods to avoid, healthy alternatives, and tips for making eating with braces more comfortable.

“Braces and Your Diet: 10 Foods to Avoid”

Some foods can be particularly harmful to people wearing braces. Here are ten common foods that should be avoided:

  • Popcorn
  • Caramel
  • Nuts
  • Bubblegum
  • Hard candy
  • Ice
  • Chips
  • Beef jerky
  • Taffy
  • Apples

Each of these foods has the potential to break brackets or wires, or get stuck between them and your teeth. If you do indulge in any of these foods, be sure to clean your teeth and braces thoroughly afterwards.

“The Ultimate Guide to Eating with Braces: Foods You Should Steer Clear Of”

Now let’s take a more detailed look at the types of foods to avoid when you have braces.

Sticky and chewy foods

Sticky, chewy, or gummy foods can easily get stuck in your braces or between your teeth, making them difficult to clean. These foods include candy, caramel, taffy, dried fruit, and gum. Instead, opt for soft fruits like bananas or berries or baked goods like cake or cupcakes.

Hard and crunchy foods

Foods that are hard and crunchy can crack your braces, move a bracket out of place, or worse, break a wire. These foods include nuts, chips, popcorn, crusty bread, and ice. Instead, try soft-cooked vegetables, such as green beans or broccoli, or drink soups.

Sugary and starchy foods

Foods high in sugar and starch can increase the risk of cavities and tooth decay. These foods include soda, fruit juice, sweets, chocolate, and cookies. Instead, choose fresh vegetables, lean meats, whole grains, or sugar-free gum.

Non-food items

Avoid chewing on items like pens, pencils, fingernails, or the caps of bottles. These items can all damage your braces or move teeth into the wrong position. Instead, opt for sugarless gum or chewy snacks if you need something to chew on.

“Say Goodbye to These Foods When You Have Braces”

In addition to the ten foods we mentioned earlier, there are some other foods that may harm your braces.

  • Hard pretzels or chips
  • Hard fruits or vegetables
  • Sticky or crunchy granola bars
  • Chewy bread like bagels
  • Sticky candy or chocolate

If you’re craving something sweet or crunchy, try healthier alternatives like apple sauce, soft granola bars, or peanut butter with a soft bread.

“Eating Right with Braces: Your Guide to Foods That Can Damage Your Braces”

Aside from the few types of food we’ve discussed, some foods might damage your braces more than others. Let’s take a closer look.

Acidic foods and drinks

Foods and drinks high in acid can erode tooth enamel and damage your braces. These foods and drinks include orange juice, tomato sauce, vinegar, and citrus fruits like lemons and limes. Instead, try eating low-acid fruits like pears, watermelon, and kiwi. Avoid brushing your teeth immediately after consuming acidic foods or drinks, as this can cause further damage.

Hot and spicy foods

Hot and spicy foods can cause discomfort to your gums and teeth, especially if you have just adjusted your braces. These foods include Tabasco sauce, curry, and pepper. If you decide to eat spicy foods, choose something mild and drink water to soothe the heat.

Food and drinks that contain artificial coloring

Artificial coloring in food and drinks can stain your braces or the elastic ties holding them in place. These foods include candy, soda, and brightly colored sports drinks. Instead of drinking soda, try sparkling water or 100% fruit juice, and stick to white bread instead of colorful snack foods.

“Braces and Your Mouth: Foods That Might Cause Problems”

Finally, let’s look at the foods that might cause discomfort in your mouth.

  • Popcorn
  • Crunchy, raw vegetables
  • Crusts on pizza or bread
  • Hard candy or chocolate
  • Chewy foods like bagels or beef jerky

If you have any discomfort, try taking an over-the-counter pain reliever. To make eating more comfortable, cut food into small pieces and chew slowly with your back teeth.


Braces require taking extra care of your oral hygiene, which includes being mindful of your diet. Avoiding certain foods can help you avoid discomfort, prolong the life of your braces, and avoid complications in your treatment. With our guide, you can navigate what foods to avoid and healthy alternatives to keep your oral health in check.

Always make sure to consult your orthodontist before consuming any new foods or drinks, especially if you’re unsure if they are safe to eat with your braces.

Remember, taking care of your braces now will lead to a healthy, beautiful smile in the long run.

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