Braces is an amazing time to get a straighter, more beautiful smile. However, wearing braces on your teeth make them much harder to clean than they were before. This is especially true when it comes to certain foods and drinks. We have a list of foods that you should avoid during your orthodontic treatment because those foods stick to the teeth. You never want food to stay stuck in your braces, as this leads to tooth decay and demineralization. We can help you to know what foods and drinks to stay away from during your orthodontic treatment. We can also help you to know how to properly clean your teeth so you don’t have to worry about tooth decay as your teeth get straighter. Avoid foods and drinks that hurt your teeth so you can have a beautiful smile once those braces come off!
Foods to Avoid
Braces bring many changes for 18-24 months. One of those is avoiding foods that could hurt your teeth. Hard foods, sticky foods and foods high in sugar should be avoided. Eating foods high in sugar increases your risk of cavities, which you want to avoid. Also avoid:
- Hard candy
- Crusty bread
- Corn on the cob
- Carrots or other hard vegetables
- Gum (this is a big one)
- Sugar Daddies and similar candies
- Tootsie Rolls
- All types of taffy
You will also want to avoid carbonated and sugary drinks. Sugary drinks also increase your risk for tooth decay, and the last thing you want with braces are cavities. Carbonated drinks contain carbonic acid, which erodes your tooth enamel and can lead to demineralization. If your teeth demineralize, they become weaker and could even have spots where they simply erode away. Limit your citric fruits (like oranges or lemons) as well as citric drinks, as these also contain acids that will hurt your teeth and erode them.
Why to Avoid These Foods
We can give you lists of foods to avoid, but it’s also best to explain why you should avoid these types of foods.
- Hard Foods – Your teeth and even you braces appliances are very hard, however, they are not unbreakable. Even without braces, you want to be careful about eating hard foods, as you could break a tooth. With braces, you could break a bracket or wire or have it come right off the tooth, which is something you don’t want. The hard candies and foods we have listed on foods to avoid are ones that we have seen hurt your teeth time and again. If you must eat hard foods (or if you really want to), cut up foods such as apples into small, bite-sized pieces. However, you should avoid nuts and popcorn hulls at all costs, as there really is no good way around eating these without the chance that you could hurt your teeth or brackets. Without braces, you want to still avoid chewing on ice or hard candies, as you could break or crack a tooth. Suck on hard foods instead.
- Sticky Foods – Sticky foods can sometimes be worse than hard ones and could even hurt your teeth more if you think about the tooth decay they can cause. Even though many sticky foods (such as gum or caramel) are soft, they are so hard to get out of your brackets. These types of foods get stuck and stay stuck long after you’ve finished eating them. Then, you have to spend a lot more time trying to brush and pick at your brackets to remove these foods. If you don’t, sticky candies and foods can sit in your brackets and wires, eroding your tooth enamel and causing tooth decay. If you eat these foods a lot, you could end up with parts of your teeth that are cratered or worn away when you get your braces off.
Cleaning Your Braces
Some tips to follow to avoid plaque buildup and tooth decay include:
- Brushing after every meal. Your braces can easily attract and trap food particles. Instead of brushing just twice a day as the American Dental Association recommends, we suggest brushing after every meal. Brush your teeth with a regular, soft-bristled brush. Brush down from the top and then up from the bottom on each tooth with a bracket to fully dislodge all food.
- Use a floss threader. You can either buy floss threaders or threadable floss. This is floss that you thread through the small spaces between teeth. You pull the floss through and then floss under your wires. The more you practice this, the quicker and easier it becomes. Don’t ever skip flossing just because it takes a bit longer, and floss at least twice a day.
- Use a proxabrush and/or waterpik. A proxabrush is a small christmas-tree brush that you can use to dislodge and clean food easily from brackets. A waterpik is a tool that shoots water in your mouth and brackets to dislodge food.
Avoid Actions that Hurt Your Teeth
Follow our guidelines for foods to avoid and what to do if you want to eat those foods. Take meticulous care of your teeth during your time with braces and you will thank yourself for the beautiful smile you’ll have when you get those braces off. If you have questions about foods or other topics that we haven’t covered, call Belmar Orthodontics at (303) 225-9016 for all of your questions!