Foods to Avoid While Wearing Braces

Embarking on an orthodontic journey with braces is a transformative experience. As you anticipate the day when you’ll flash a perfectly aligned smile, it’s essential to ensure the journey is smooth and without setbacks. One critical aspect of brace care that often goes overlooked is diet. Certain foods can compromise the integrity of your braces or hinder the progress of your treatment. With guidance from Dr. Laura Davis, we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of foods to sidestep while sporting braces.

1. Hard Foods: An inadvertent bite into a hard food item can result in broken brackets or wires. Here’s a list to consider:

  • Ice cubes: Might be tempting to chew, but they can cause brackets to snap off.
  • Nuts: Their hard texture can prove too abrasive for braces.
  • Hard candies: Beyond the risk of broken brackets, they’re a cavity culprit.
  • Crusty bread rolls: The crust can exert pressure on braces.
  • Popcorn kernels: An unexpected bite can lead to a damaged bracket.

2. Sticky Foods: These can adhere to the braces, proving challenging to remove and increasing the risk of cavities.

  • Chewing gum: Remains a top offender, sticking to and pulling on braces.
  • Caramel candies: Their gooey nature can adhere to and even pull off brackets.
  • Licorice: Its stretchy texture can entangle around braces.
  • Taffy: Prolonged chewing can strain the braces.

3. Sugary Foods: While they might not directly harm your braces, excessive sugar can lead to plaque buildup around your brackets.

  • Cakes and pastries: Their high sugar content can be detrimental if consumed often.
  • Sugary drinks: Soda, in particular, is acidic and can weaken enamel around brackets.
  • Candy bars: Sticky and sugary, a challenging combination for braces.

4. Chewy Foods: These require significant jaw movement and can exert undue pressure on the braces.

  • Bagels: Especially when fresh, their chewiness can tug on braces.
  • Licorice: Its persistent chewy nature can be problematic.
  • Certain types of meat: Like ribs or steak, which require significant chewing.

5. Foods Requiring a Bite: Biting into foods can cause front brackets to pop off.

  • Apples: Better to be enjoyed sliced rather than bitten into directly.
  • Corn on the cob: Stripping the corn off the cob is a safer bet.
  • Carrots: Opt for thinly sliced or steamed versions.

6. High-Acid Foods: Excess acid can erode tooth enamel, especially around the brackets.

  • Citrus fruits: Oranges, lemons, and grapefruits, though nutritious, are high in acid.
  • Pickles: The vinegar content raises their acidity.
  • Soda: Especially colas, which combine sugar and acid.

It’s worth noting that while these foods are recommended for avoidance, moderation is key. For instance, sipping a soda on a rare occasion or enjoying a slice of cake at a party won’t necessarily derail your orthodontic progress. However, consistent indulgence can lead to potential issues.

While the list might seem restrictive, it opens up an opportunity to explore a plethora of other delicious and brace-friendly foods. Soft fruits, dairy products, grains, and soft-cooked meats are all on the menu and can be equally satisfying.

Adjusting to life with braces can be a bit challenging, but with the end goal in sight, these short-term dietary adjustments are a small price to pay. And remember, every time you bypass a potentially harmful food, you’re one step closer to achieving that dream smile more swiftly.

Location-Centric Care: Whether you’re in Lawrenceville, Morrow, Stone Mountain, or Loganville, GA, Dr. Laura Davis and the team at Davis Family Orthodontics are committed to providing localized care, ensuring that your orthodontic journey is personalized and convenient.

Perfect Your Orthodontic Journey! Investing in braces is an investment in your future smile. Ensure you’re making the most of it by optimizing your dietary choices. Need more guidance or looking to start your orthodontic journey? Reach out to Dr. Laura Davis at Davis Family Orthodontics. Your perfect smile awaits!


  1. American Association of Orthodontists – Braces and Diet Restrictions
  2. WebMD – Oral Care and Braces
  3. Colgate – Food Guidelines for Orthodontics
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Dr. Laura Davis and the staff at Davis Family Orthodontics are committed to maintaining the highest standards in orthodontic care and providing the best possible service to our patients. Our practice boasts state-of-the-art equipment and a caring, professional staff in a friendly, inviting environment.