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Foods to Avoid

When it comes to protecting your teeth and braces, common sense will usually tell you which foods and beverages to stay away from. For the most part, though, the main categories to avoid include hard foods, sticky foods, and foods high in sugar.


  • Hard foods can break or damage your wires and brackets.
  • Sticky foods can get caught in between braces.
  • Sugary foods cause tooth decay.

Which Foods Are Harmful to Braces?

Here is a complete list of foods to avoid in each category.

Hard Foods

  • Ice (do not chew). Try shaved ice or smoothies.
  • Nuts (unless cut into small pieces)
  • Hard taco shells (switch to soft tacos)
  • French bread crust
  • Corn on the cob (cut off the cob)
  • Bagels (cut or tear into small pieces)
  • Chips (hard and crunchy, try potato chips)
  • Jolly Ranchers
  • Hard candies in general
  • Pizza crust (cut up into small pieces)
  • Raw, hard fruits and vegetables (steam or cut into small pieces)
  • Meat on the bone (ribs, chicken) – Use a fork to remove the meat rather than possibly biting the bone.

Sticky Foods

  • Non sugar-free gum (if you are not wearing appliances like retainers or Invisalign and only chew for short periods of time)
  • Licorice
  • Sugar Daddies
  • Toffee
  • Tootsie Rolls
  • Caramels
  • Starburst

Sugary Foods

  • Cake
  • Ice cream
  • Cookies
  • Pie
  • Candy

A Few More Tips

In addition to avoiding these food groupings, here is some extra advice on what you can do to keep your braces and teeth healthy.

  • Consuming drinks such as soda, Gatorade, Kool-Aid, sweetened tea, or other sweetened/acidic drinks should be greatly reduced.
  • Water is always the best alternative.
  • Keep from chewing on foreign objects like pens, pencils, paper clips, and water bottles.
  • Regularly check your braces for bent or loose wires. And, if any damage is found, immediately arrange an appointment to see your orthodontist for a repair.

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