eat-with-braces-300x200Braces are a mutual agreement reached by you and your orthodontist to straighten your teeth and/or jawline to improve your overall dental health. The most obvious improvement is your smile.

Braces themselves are brackets and wires placed on the front, and more rarely, the back of teeth. These parts are easily damaged or bent by certain foods, resulting in frequent trips for straightening or replacement.

There are over twenty foods recommended by the American Orthodontists Association that you should refrain from consuming to maintain the health of your braces. All of the foods listed are those commonly found in the American diet; while an exhaustive list can easily be retrieved online, here are the top 5 culprits:

  • Apples, Pears, and Pickles- Do not bite into an apple; cut into pieces first.
  • Bagels and Hard Rolls
  • Beef Jerky- Too tough and leathery, braces can’t withstand it.
  • Bubble gum and anything Gummi– Easily wraps itself around and into those wires and brackets. Nearly impossible to remove it from the parts once it has stuck to them.
  • Holiday Candy-This includes items such as candy canes, suckers, candy bars with caramel and/or nuts, chewy and hard candies, as well as hard cookies.

While braces do present a culinary sacrifice, the American Orthodontic Association swears that one’s overall dental health is worth the imposition. While the length of time you wear braces is dependent upon your unique oral circumstance and needs, in that time you will learn to stay away from the above foods and which ones are best accommodating to the parts.

While most liquids are ok for braces, the inner and outer textures of certain foods wreak havoc on the wires and brackets used in braces, regardless if they are on the outside or the inside of the teeth. Thus, it is recommended that you stay away from certain foods and candies, particularly those that are hard or gummy.

Doing so will save on extra trips to the orthodontists to straighten bent wires and/or replace misshapen and broken brackets. This, in turn, helps you avoid added or extra pain and discomfort that comes with “tune ups,” and can save money by avoiding replacement costs.