Braces do a great job of correcting teeth gaps, crowding, alignment and other bite issues, but they do need specific care in order to work properly. To prevent damage to the wires and brackets, you may need to make some temporary adjustments to your diet.
The most problematic foods for braces fall into three categories: sticky foods, hard foods and sugary foods. Sticky foods can get stuck between wires and teeth. Hard foods can actually break the braces. And sugary foods cause decay and cavities.
Here are the top 10 worst foods to eat with braces:
10. Gum. Gum can cause several problems for your braces. It can get stuck between the wires, and in some cases even bend them, requiring repair.
9. Caramels, toffee and other chewy treats and candies. Tasty as they may be, these sticky sweets are notorious for damaging orthodontics.
8. Sports drinks. Though it’s often thought of as “healthier” than soda, unless you’re a competitive athlete, sports drinks aren’t all that healthful. In fact, they’re typically loaded with sugar! Not only that, but like soda and energy drinks, sports drinks can damage the enamel on your teeth.
7. Hard taco shells. This is one of the less obvious culprits, but hard taco shells are known to break brackets and wires. Same goes for crunchy potato and corn chips.
6. Sugary desserts (cake, ice cream, cookies, candy). Sugary foods are not good for your teeth. With braces, they’re even worse, contributing to increased plaque and tartar and the destruction of enamel.
5. Crusty bread and pizza crust. When these foods are crunchy, they can break braces. When they’re doughy, they require extra chewing, which can loosen and bend the wires. Unfortunately, both options are risky for orthodontic patients.
4. Apples, carrots, pears and other crunchy fruits. These fruits are probably the healthiest on the list, but they can easily get caught in your braces and damage them. It’s still okay to enjoy them, but be sure to cut them into small pieces, or cook until they’re soft.
3. Nuts. Like sticky foods, nuts have a tendency to find their way into all the nooks and crannies of your teeth and braces, leading to decay and gum irritation.
2. Ice. It may seem innocuous, but chewing ice is very bad for your teeth–braces or otherwise. Without braces, you can damage enamel and crack a tooth. With them, you risk serious damage to your braces.
1. Popcorn and corn on the cob. Even before braces you’ve probably experienced a kernel stuck in your tooth. It’s uncomfortable at best and sometimes downright painful. Aside from possibly damaging your teeth and your braces, left untreated, a stuck kernel can lead to swelling, discomfort and even infection.
If the thought of giving up some of these foods during your orthodontic treatment isn’t so appealing right now, don’t worry. Soon enough, you’ll have plenty to smile about!