Which Foods Should I Avoid To Prevent Damage To Braces?

At Hamer & Glassick Orthodontics, we’re committed to helping you achieve a beautiful smile with braces. While braces are designed to withstand daily wear and tear, certain foods can cause damage or delays in your treatment. Dr. Hamer and Dr. Glassick like to educate patients so they know the foods to avoid to keep braces in top shape and a smile journey on track.

What Are The Worst Foods To Eat With Braces?

When you have braces, it’s important to be mindful of what you eat. Some foods can:

Get stuck in your braces, leading to plaque buildup and tooth decay

Damage your braces, causing brackets to loosen or wires to break

Here are the main categories of foods to avoid or be cautious with:

1. Hard and Crunchy Foods

These can put excessive pressure on your braces, causing brackets to come loose or break:

  • Popcorn
  • Nuts
  • Hard candies
  • Ice

2. Sticky and Chewy Foods

These can get stuck in your braces, making them difficult to clean properly and potentially leading to tooth decay and gum disease:

  • Caramel
  • Gum
  • Sticky candy

3. Tough Meats

These can be difficult to chew with braces and may cause damage:

  • Beef jerky
  • Hard salami
  • Other tough meats

4. Hard Fruits and Vegetables

While essential for a healthy diet, hard fruits and vegetables can damage your braces. Instead:

  • Cut them into smaller pieces
  • Cook them to soften them


  • Apples
  • Carrots
Which Foods Should I Avoid To Prevent Damage To Braces?

Sugary And Acidic Foods To Limit

1. Sugary Beverages

Soda (both regular and diet)

  • Why limit: High in sugar and acid; can erode enamel and promote decay
  • Alternative: Water, unsweetened tea, milk

Sports drinks

  • Why limit: Contains added sugars and acids
  • Alternative: Water, electrolyte-enhanced water without added sugars

Fruit juices

  • Why limit: High in natural sugars and acids
  • Alternative: Whole fruits (cut into small pieces), water infused with fruit

2. Sticky and Chewy Candies

Caramel, taffy, gummy bears

  • Why limit: Can get stuck in braces, hard to clean, high sugar content
  • Alternative: Sugar-free gelatin, yogurt

Chewing gum

  • Why limit: Can stick to braces and potentially damage them
  • Alternative: Sugar-free mints (if approved by orthodontist)

3. Hard Candies

Lollipops, jawbreakers, hard mints

  • Why limit: Can break brackets or wires if bitten
  • Alternative: Soft, sugar-free candies (in moderation)

4. Crunchy Snacks


  • Why limit: Kernels can get stuck and damage braces
  • Alternative: Soft pretzels, baked chips

Nuts and seeds

  • Why limit: Hard texture can damage braces
  • Alternative: Smooth nut butters

Hard chips (potato chips, tortilla chips)

  • Why limit: Can bend wires or break brackets
  • Alternative: Softer snacks like cheese puffs

5. Tough Meats

Beef jerky, tough steak

  • Why limit: Can dislodge brackets or bend wires
  • Alternative: Ground meats, tender cuts of meat, fish

6. Hard Fruits and Vegetables

Whole apples, carrots, corn on the cob

  • Why limit: Hard texture can damage braces
  • Alternative: Cut into small pieces cooked until soft or pureed

7. Acidic Foods

Citrus fruits (lemons, limes, oranges)

  • Why limit: High acidity can erode enamel
  • Alternative: Less acidic fruits like bananas, melons

Pickles and vinegar-based foods

  • Why limit: High acidity can weaken enamel
  • Alternative: Non-acidic vegetables

8. Crusty Breads

Bagels, hard rolls, crusty pizza

  • Why limit: Hard crust can damage braces
  • Alternative: Softer pieces of bread, thin-crust pizza cut into small pieces

9. Ice

Chewing on ice cubes

  • Why limit: Can break brackets and bend wires
  • Alternative: Crushed ice (to be consumed with a spoon, not chewed)

10. Sugary Breakfast Cereals

Frosted or sugar-coated cereals

  • Why limit: High sugar content can lead to decay
  • Alternative: Whole grain cereals, oatmeal

Remember: While these foods should be limited, good oral hygiene practices are crucial. Brush after every meal, floss daily using a floss threader, and use a fluoride mouthwash to maintain oral health while wearing braces.

Which Foods Should I Avoid To Prevent Damage To Braces?

Braces-Friendly Food Alternatives

Just because you have braces doesn’t mean you have to miss out on delicious meals. There are plenty of braces-friendly alternatives to keep your smile healthy and your taste buds happy.

Here are some great options Dr. Hamer and Dr. Glassick recommend:

  • Soft Fruits and Vegetables
  • Bananas
  • Berries
  • Steamed broccoli
  • Cooked carrots

These are gentle on your braces and packed with nutrients.

  • Dairy Products
  • Yogurt
  • Soft cheeses
  • Milk

These calcium-rich options help strengthen your teeth.

  • Lean Proteins
  • Chicken
  • Fish
  • Tofu

These provide protein without putting too much pressure on your braces.

  • Whole Grains
  • Pasta
  • Bread
  • Rice

These soft, easy-to-chew options provide fiber and nutrients.

Tips For Eating With Braces

Eating with braces may take some getting used to, but with a few simple tips, you’ll be enjoying your favorite foods in no time:

  • Cut your food into smaller pieces to make chewing easier and reduce the risk of damage to your braces.
  • Chew slowly and carefully, using your back teeth to avoid putting too much pressure on your front braces.
  • Rinse your mouth with water after eating to help remove any food particles that may be stuck in your braces.
  • Brush your teeth after every meal to prevent plaque buildup and keep your braces clean.
Which Foods Should I Avoid To Prevent Damage To Braces?

Your Partner In Creating A Beautiful Smile

At Hamer & Glassick Orthodontics, we’re here to support you every step of the way on your smile journey. By avoiding harmful foods and embracing braces-friendly alternatives, you can keep your braces in top shape and achieve the beautiful, healthy smile you deserve.

If you have any questions about caring for your braces or want to schedule your free consultation, give Dr. Hamer and Dr. Glassick a call today. We can’t wait to help you discover the smile that you are looking for.