Now that I have braces what can I eat?

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This is a pretty simple question. Sometimes patient’s think their orthodontist is trying to watch their patient’s diet.  This is not the case.  The reason for the restriction on foods is to avoid broken bracket and wires.   Every time a patient comes into the office with something broken, usually unbeknownst to them,  they are just prolonging their treatment. Think of it like this –

Your car needs an oil change but every time you go into your  mechanic’s auto shop you have flat tire which needs to be fixed.  For argument sake you can only do one thing when you’re there…so what do you do?  Get the tire fixed or get the oil changed?  If the tire doesn’t get fixed you won’t be driving and so you elect to get the tire fixed again.  Now it’s been 3 months and you still haven’t gotten the oil changed because you keep having that flat tire issue.  This is not the maintaining the health of your car.

Now to those things one should stay away from while in orthodontic treatment.  Since it’s virtually impossible to list all of items individually, I’ll just sum it up for you.

  • First, sticky and chewy things such as, taffy, caramel, gummy bears and the like.
  • Secondly, the hard and crunchy items, i.e. jaw breakers, toffee, pencil, pens,  your sister or brother’s fingers…you get my meaning.
    • Watch the hard fruits and veggies like carrots, apples, pears.   No biting into apples like Snow White and no biting into carrots like Bugs Bunny, silly rabbit!  You must slice them up into smaller pieces.
    • Watch the harder nuts like brazil nuts, hazelnuts, whole almonds, even peanuts.  Some orthodontic offices will even restrict the consumption of chunky peanut butter, sorry.
    • Hard breads like Italian or French pose a problem because of their hard crust, some bagels as well.
    • Going to the movies, hum-m-m popcorn…surprisingly popcorn is okay as long as one doesn’t attempt to eat the half cooked kernels.   No chewing on ice, period.
    • Gum chewing is one of those delights some orthodontist have come to terms with due to the sugarless surge, but be sure to clear this with your orthodontist first because many of them still don’t want gum to be apart of the menu.
    • Ah-h pizza…it’s okay as long as they don’t try “the old bite and stretch the cheese out arm’s length routine”.

So next time you get the look of death from your orthodontic prisoner (your child) because they can’t have those gummy bears or any of the other forbidden treats, remind them you’re just trying to make sure they keep their treatment moving along.

You can also make game of it.  For each week they survive without breaking anything you will contribute a donation toward something they really want like maybe a Xbox 360 or a Nintendo DS or something you know they really would like to have in their possession at some point in their life.   It will help you sleep better at night.


We are passionate about promoting healthy, white smiles and hope you are too! What to know how to maintain and beautiful smile? That is what we are here to help you with!

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