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Undergoing orthodontic treatment can be a very challenging time for adults and young children. One of the big questions, after you find out how long you’ll have to wear them, is… Will I have to change what I eat?  Unfortunately, both children and adults will need to avoid certain foods or treats while undergoing orthodontic treatment.  Certain foods cause problems with orthodontic braces, and knowing what they are so that you can find alternatives, will make for an easier course of treatment. Eating or drinking the wrong thing can lead to brackets or wires breaking loose, tooth decay, and unsightly staining during orthodontic treatment.

Foods and Habits To Avoid

It is always recommended to follow a well balanced diet as this will give you the most benefit in your overall health as well as your dental health. The following are the types of foods to avoid to give you the best chance for orthodontic success:

Avoid Sticky and Sugary Foods. Cutting back on hard (nerds), sticky (milkduds), and gummy candies, white bread, donuts, oreos, etc. are always a good choice even without orthodontic braces. While wearing orthodontic brackets and wires theses sticky and acidic foods will stay trapped between the brackets and wires. This increases the likelihood of developing tooth decay during orthodontic treatment. The stickiness can also lead to broken wires and brackets.

-Avoid High Acid/ High Sugar Beverages.  Soft drinks with high acid and high sugar can break down the bracket bonds and cause loosening of brackets, staining and decay. Alcoholic beverages have higher acids, dry out the mouth and cause tooth decay. Red wine may cause staining of the teeth and adhesive bond material around brackets.

Eat Smaller Pieces Of Food. Cut your food into smaller pieces and avoid biting into foods if possible. Break pieces off with your fingers or use a knife and fork. This will make them less harmful to your braces. Large pieces of something as seemingly harmless as an apple can have the effect of breaking down your brackets and loosening them. Broken brackets require increased visits to the orthodontist and can potentially delay results. Biting into large sandwiches, gnawing on ribs or chicken wings, nibbling on a cob of corn, can all cause loosening of brackets.  A good tip is to cut the apple into smaller pieces, take the meat off the bones and slice the kernels off the cob.

Avoid Hard, Crunchy, Chewy Snacks. This includes popcorn, corn nuts, hard pretzels, beef jerky, bagels, pizza crusts. These can break orthodontic brackets and once again delay orthodontic care.

Biting Or Chewing On Non-Edible Items. Nervous habits can do harm to our braces. These can include biting on nails, pens or pencils, using tooth picks.

Bubble Gum. Bubble gum is the enemy of braces. It gets stuck inside all the grooves of the brackets and wires.

Ice. Chewing ice can damage the bond between your teeth and your braces. There is also a good chance you can fracture your teeth as well.

Highly Staining Foods and Smoking. If you are wearing clear (white) porcelain brackets, or any elastics, they can stain from red wine, tomato sauce, barbecue sauce, and cigarette smoke. While it may seem like all foods are harmful there are plenty of healthy alternative snacks that do not harm your orthodontic braces. These can include yogurt, jell-o, pudding, cheese, and even chocolate bars (without nuts of course).

Orthodontics Conclusion

Orthodontic care will lead to an improved smile as long as you follow good habits. You need to be diligent in caring for your braces and maintaining good at home dental hygiene. Follow the instructions from your orthodontist, and avoid harmful foods and habits. Doing your best should help you avoid many problems, wasted time, embarrassing staining of teeth, and dental decay. Visit your dentist every 3 months during orthodontic treatment and continue with routine dental examinations.



As we are in the middle of the Holiday season there are lots of tempting treats to pick on. Most are okay in moderation but some are likely to create problems for your dental health. Issues that could be created include tooth decay and even fractured teeth. Below are a listing of some to be careful of:

1. Popcorn. An old favorite usually enjoyed at the movies but around holiday time regular old popcorn becomes coated in caramel. Normally popcorn presents challenges for teeth due to biting on popcorn kernels and popcorn husks getting stuck between teeth. Those pesky popcorn kernels have been known to cause broken teeth and fracture fillings. Add the caramel and it is a recipe for disaster as the caramel masks the kernels and sticks in and around your teeth. This can break a tooth, or create an environment ripe for development of tooth decay. So think twice and beware if  indulging in this holiday favorite.

2. Dried Fruit. Seems like this would be a healthy snack but the sugars in the dried fruit are concentrated and their dry texture makes them stick longer to teeth. This allows acid producing bacteria in your mouth to have a chance to work on your tooth enamel. Be smart, and floss after or chose fresh fruit instead.

3. White Flour Crackers. We love these crackers with cheese spreads as a pre holiday meal snack. Did you know the bleached white flour turns almost immediately into sugar, which is food for the bacteria in your mouth to create an acid filled environment for tooth decay. Choose whole grain versions of these favorite crackers for better dental health as well as general health.

4. Candy Canes. A traditional favorite that can also cause fractures to teeth if you choose to bite into them. Sucking on hard candy makes the sugar acids linger longer in your mouth. Break off a small piece, and drink water after.

5. Christmas cookies and fudge.These are hard to pass up, especially at a party! Remember that very high sugar content, white flour and the stickiness are the contributors to tooth decay. Try eating some carrots or celery directly after you partake in these sweet treats.

6. Peanut brittle. Some peanut brittle is harder or stickier than others. You can pull out a crown or filling or break a tooth. Try moistening a small piece in your mouth to soften it before chewing. You will certainly need to floss after this snack!

Dental Hygiene Tips for Holidays

Drink Water. Plenty of it to swish and rinse your mouth.This will reduce the acid producing sugars and food debris from holiday snacking.

Crunch on raw veggies. They will help clear the stickiness and stimulate salivary flow.

Brush and Floss After Snacking. Brushing and flossing after snacking will neutralize the acid build up and not allow the tooth enamel to be broken down.

Enjoy the Holidays, just use your judgement to make good choices. You can still eat the special foods you love, just do it wisely. Remember, smiles are contagious, spread some holiday cheer with your beautiful smile!