Braces can produce some beautiful results, but they do not come without a few sacrifices for young epicureans. The sweets will need to be cut down, the sticky foods will need to go, even some vegetables will need to be cut off the list (I know, so sad). Fortunately, many of the foods you have to cut down on will be great for your teeth. While it may not seem fair that you may have to give up some of your favorite foods at first, but keeping focused on the future and how beautiful and straight your teeth will be after putting in the time with braces, know that it will be worth it. So just what are the five biggest foods to avoid with braces?

worst foods to eat with braces

Hard or Sticky Candy

Hard candies like peppermints, butterscotch candies, and jolly ranchers are all great ways to break braces. If you can control the urge to bite down and crunch hard candies to bits, just sucking on them until they dissolve completely instead, they won't break the brackets. However, avoiding hard candies due to your braces is actually great for your teeth because of the damaging sugar content.

Alternatively, those with braces will find a similar warming against sticky candy. Candies like soft chocolate, caramel, or taffy are not only serious culprits for cavities, but they are a serious disaster to clean from braces. Sticky candies are best avoided all together.


Gum is actually a controversial food when it comes to orthodontic braces. Sugary gum should be avoided at all costs as it causes cavities, but chewing sugar-free gum is actually alright with some orthodontists. Some orthodontists believe that gum can help make the tooth movement more comfortable, but in most cases, gum will get stuck among the brackets and can even work to pull loose the wires and dislodge your braces. Gum causes a real mess that is difficult to clean, so it is best to avoid it to save yourself a headache and avoid another trip to the orthodontist.


Nuts and other hard crunchy foods that shatter into a million pieces are a big no-no. While foods like pretzels, chips, and hard tacos are, without a doubt, delicious, they can also brake off brackets, yet that is not the real problem. The real problem with crunchy foods is that they often lodge themselves among the braces, and take forever to clean out. It is just a pain for the wearer and best avoided.

Raw Carrots and Whole Apples

Carrots and apples may seem okay because they are such healthy treats, but both require forceful biting with the front teeth, which most often results in broken brackets. However, they don't need to be cut out all together. By cutting apples and carrots into smaller pieces, it makes them much more manageable to eat and requires less force that is dangerous to your braces. However, like with all food, those who wear braces should be sure to clean out the little pieces left behind as well.


What is the single most damaging food for braces? It is the seemingly innocuous buttery movie time treat - popcorn. Before getting braces, the popcorn kernels may have gotten caught in your teeth and become a minor annoyance, but after braces it can cause some serious discomfort when they get to your teeth. While many stray kernels can be removed with a good flossing, those that get stuck for a long period of time can cause painful swelling in the gums, requiring the braces to be removed so your orthodontist can clean the area.

Sadly, there is no good way to eat popcorn with braces, and each time you try is a real gamble. However, on the bright side you will save so much more money with each trip to the movie theater.

So What Can You Eat?

After first getting braces, it may seem like a decent chunk of the culinary world has been cut off from you. However, providing the dish isn't too crunchy, sticky, or tough, you can stille at a lot of things without putting undue stress on your braces.

Here are some good foods to try:

  • Soft fruits: Oranges, kiwi, plums, peaches, seedless watermelon
  • Soft Vegetables: This essentially means any if they are steamed.
  • Dairy: Yogurt, soft cheese
  • Soft Meat: Lunch meat, meatballs, tender cooked meats. Try cutting tougher meats into very small pieces.
  • Seafood: Salmon, crab meat, tuna, shrimp
  • Cooked Grains: Well done pasta and soft-cooked rice
  • Dessert: This is the best part of getting braces, especially immediately after when your mouth is so sore. Ice cream, pudding, smoothies, jello, and applesauce are all great post-braces food.
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