Wearing braces is often the first step to getting the smile you want, and for some people it’s the only step needed for lovely straight teeth.
Now imagine you go to all of that effort and then unknowingly make your teeth worse by eating foods that cause cavities and effectively rotting your teeth.
A good oral hygiene routine can almost eliminate the risk of cavities, but it will still pay to avoid these eleven foods to ensure your braces don’t do your teeth more harm than good.1. Sticky and Hard Candy
The reasons for this are two-fold. Firstly, the candy might get tangled around your braces and damage them.
Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, the candy will stick to your teeth and linger there, furthering the risk of cavities as it works its way underneath your braces and makes cleaning your teeth more difficult.2. Hard Nuts
Hard nuts are a combination of two of the worst things for brace wearers; they are hard and small.
This is bad news as it can break the brackets on your brace and mean another trip to the dentist to fix them – not great news if you’re not a fan of the dentist.
You can always replace nuts with nut butters if you really miss the taste and the protein boost and healthy fats you get from nuts.3. Popcorn
This seemingly harmless food is actually one of the worst things you can eat if you wear braces. Unpopped kernels and bits of rogue kernel can cause a multitude of problems – the worst one being if they get wedged in your gums in a hard to reach spot. This can lead to your braces having to be removed to get the kernel out and then reapplied.
If you really can’t do without popcorn, don’t be tempted to choose caramel covered varieties and check every piece for rogue kernels.4. Hard Tacos
Hard tacos can scrape against the surface of your brace’s brackets and dislodge them. Remember that they’re only attached to your teeth with an adhesive substance.
While the adhesive is generally strong enough to withstand the majority of foods, particularly hard foods can pull them loose. If this happens to you, don’t be tempted to reattach the brackets yourself.5. Gum
Perhaps even worse than popcorn, gum is strictly off limits to anyone who wears braces. Why? The gum can cause the wires between your brackets to bend.
This can be so subtle that you don’t even notice it – which means that your teeth are being pushed in the wrong direction and can lead to you needing to wear your braces for longer to undo the damage you’ve done.6. Ice
Chewing ice is one of the biggest culprits for a cracked tooth with or without braces – and with braces, there’s a risk that the crack happens beneath the brackets and goes unnoticed until the braces are removed, or the tooth breaks completely.
Of course there is also a major risk of breaking the brackets on your braces like with any hard food too.7. Carbonated Drinks
While technically not a food, carbonated drinks have to make this list because of the dangers they pose to your teeth. It’s a bit of a no brainer really, but something that rots your teeth at the best of times is even worse when it sticks to your brace.
The combination of acid and sugar attacks teeth and gums and causes cavities. Certain sodas have even been known to weaken the adhesive that holds the brackets in place on your teeth.8. Hard Pretzels
Again, eating something hard like pretzels means you run the risk of breaking a brace bracket, or worse, your tooth succumbing to the pressure of biting down while being restrained and cracking or snapping.
You can eat soft pretzels if you really crave that pretzel taste!9. Corn on the Cob
Accidentally biting into the cob as you eat the corn can spell disaster for your braces, causing them to dislodge or the wires to snap.
Plus, let’s be honest, anything that you scrape your front teeth across is a risk with braces and no one wants yellow chunks caught in the wires at the front of their mouths.
On the plus side, this one is really easy to get around – you can still eat the corn, just remove it from the cob first.10. Raw Vegetables
While teens everywhere are doing a happy dance reading this one, you can (and should) maintain your vegetable intake while you’re wearing your braces. Although biting into a whole raw carrot could cause your brace to dislodge, there are many ways around this.
Lightly steam your vegetables to keep their goodness in and soften them enough to be safe around your brace. Or if you really want them raw, on a salad for example, grate them or cut them into small pieces.11. Hard Cereals
Hard cereals such as cornflakes mean you run the risk of damaging your brackets and wires and causing your brace to bend out of shape.
How you get around this one depends on your palate. You can either switch your hard cereal out for a softer one such as Weetabix, or let your favourite hard cereal stand in the milk a little longer until it goes soggy.
Whichever method you choose, adding sugar to the cereal is a no no.
Talking to your friends etc., you will always find someone who insists that they ate something they shouldn’t have ate when wearing braces with no repercussions. Of course you can choose to take this advice, or you can choose to take the advice of your dentist, a trained professional who knows the risks that eating the wrong foods while wearing braces can run.
As a rule of thumb, avoiding hard, chewy/sticky and sugary foods will keep your teeth and braces healthy, and allow you to get brace free and sporting your perfect smile in no time.