Foods To Avoid With Braces

What foods should a person avoid with braces? Braces are transformative orthodontic tools that our McDermott Orthodontics team designs for you whether in the Arnold, MO or Florissant, MO communities. Metal and clear braces correct misaligned teeth and improve overall dental health. If you have braces, Dr. McDermott recommends you keep certain foods off the menu. But which ones? No worries! Keep reading, and you’ll find out all about which foods to avoid with braces.

Why Avoid Certain Foods with Braces?

Investing in braces involves both time and money. Like any investment, your orthodontic treatment needs protection. Certain foods can damage the delicate components of your braces. If you bend or break your brackets and wires, you’ll stretch out your treatment time. Nobody wants that to happen! Plus, some foods can contribute to plaque build-up and tooth decay. That’ll really gum up your treatment progress!

Common Problems from Eating the Wrong Foods

Eating the wrong foods can lead to several issues when you have braces. Here are the common problems:

Broken Brackets: Hard and sticky foods can break or dislodge brackets, which means extra trips to see Dr. McDermott.

Bent Wires: Chewing tough foods can bend the wires of your braces, disrupting your alignment process.

Tooth Decay: Foods high in sugar can cause plaque build-up around your brackets.

Broken brackets and bent wires are among the most frequent issues we see in Arnold and Florissant. When brackets break, you can hold up your entire alignment process. Until we repair or replace your components, you’ll delay your treatment. Bent wires can stop your teeth from realigning. The result? You’ll slow your treatment progress. Additionally, frequently consuming sugary foods can lead to serious orthodontic problems. 

Tooth decay and gum disease are detrimental to your overall health. Plaque build-up around brackets and wires can cause cavities. If you get a cavity during your treatment, it’ll need to be dealt with. Only then can your braces treatment continue. 

Foods To Avoid With Braces

Sticky Foods

Sticky foods are a big no-no for anyone with braces. This includes:

Candies: Caramel, toffee, and chewy candies can stick to braces and are tough to clean off.  

Chewing Gum: Gum can wrap around your brackets and wires.

Sticky foods pose a unique challenge if you have braces. Why? Because they can gum up your brackets and wires. This makes them difficult to clean off and increases the risk of pulling brackets off your teeth. Chewy candies, in particular, can create a sticky residue that is hard to remove even with thorough brushing and flossing.

Moreover, sticky foods often contain high amounts of sugar. This isn’t a mystery, but it warrants repeating. Sugar increases your likelihood of tooth decay and gum disease. The longer these sugary substances stay on your braces and teeth, the greater the chance for bacteria to thrive and cause damage. Bacteria mean only bad news for your teeth. 

Crunchy Foods

Crunchy foods can be problematic as well. Consider steering clear of:

Raw Vegetables: Carrots, celery, and other crunchy veggies can be tough on braces. Opt for cooked versions instead.

Chips: Hard tortilla chips or kettle chips can break braces. Softer alternatives are safer.

Crunchy foods threaten your braces because of the force required to bite into them. This force can easily cause brackets to pop off or wires to bend. If that happens, Dr. McDermott will have to see you for repairs or adjustments. Raw vegetables, while healthy, should be consumed in softer forms. Steam them or boil them to avoid damaging your braces.

Chips, especially hard and crunchy ones, can create pressure points on the brackets and wires, leading to potential breakage. Opting for softer snacks and being mindful of the food’s texture can help protect your braces and ensure that your orthodontic treatment proceeds without unnecessary interruptions.

Acidic Foods and Drinks

Acidic foods and drinks can destroy the enamel of your teeth and stain braces. Be cautious with:

Citrus Fruits: Oranges, lemons, and grapefruits can weaken the enamel.

Sports Drinks: These drinks often have a lot of sugar and acid and can damage teeth.

Acidic foods and drinks can harm your braces. They’ll erode the enamel around the brackets and wires. Erosion of enamel can make your teeth more sensitive and—yep, you guessed it—increase your risk of cavities. Enjoy citrus fruits in moderation. Always rinse your mouth with water to minimize the acidic effects.

Sports drinks, often consumed for their electrolytes, also contain high sugar and levels of acid. These drinks can cause similar damage to the teeth and braces, leading to enamel erosion and potential staining of your brackets and elastics. 

Foods To Avoid With Braces

How to Eat with Braces

Adapting your eating habits can prevent damage. Here are some tips:

Cut Food into Smaller Pieces: This reduces the strain on your braces.

Chew Slowly and Carefully: Take your time to prevent biting into hard pieces accidentally.

Avoid Biting with Front Teeth: Use your back teeth for tougher foods.

Eating with braces takes some adjustments to your normal eating habits. Cutting food into smaller pieces reduces the pressure on your braces. Plus, it minimizes your risk of damaging them. Chewing slowly and carefully can help you identify hard pieces that might threaten your braces before you bite them.

Another effective strategy is to use your back teeth for tougher foods. Your back teeth are stronger and better equipped to handle the stress without compromising your brackets and wires. These simple adjustments can significantly protect your braces and ensure your orthodontic treatment progresses smoothly.

Foods To Avoid With Braces

Have a Smile Breakthrough With Braces

Dr. McDermott and the rest of our McDermott Orthodontics team can’t wait to see your amazing new smile. We have two convenient offices: Arnold and Florissant. Visit us here to schedule your free consultation.