Foods to Avoid While Wearing Braces

When wearing braces, it’s not uncommon to occasionally forget about a food you should avoid eating during your treatment. In general, if a food is crunchy, chewy, hard, or sticky then you are better off avoiding it. And absolutely don’t bite into foods with your front teeth! It is also best to avoid sugary foods and beverages while in braces as your teeth are more difficult to keep clean, increasing your risk for tooth decay.

You may be wondering what is the worst that can happen if you do indulge in these foods? In a word – pain! Foods on the avoid list (see below) can cause brackets to pop off, loosen, or break. They can also break, bend, disconnect, and damage your wires. Whether it’s your brackets or your wires (or both) that are impacted by your food choices, you’ll experience discomfort or pain until you can come to the office for repairs.

What foods fall into the categories of crunchy, chewy, hard, or sticky? Here are just a few!

  • Popcorn
  • Nuts
  • Hard taco shells or tortilla chips
  • Pretzels
  • Ice
  • Breads and rolls – Including pizza crust and croutons
  • Gummy bears
  • Caramel or taffy
  • Gum (other than Orbit or Trident Sugar-free varieties)
  • Fruit roll-ups and fruit leather
  • Sticky or hard candy
  • Jerky
  • Chicken wings (often bitten with front teeth)
  • Raw veggies and fruits (either cut into very small pieces or cook to soften)
  • Corn on the cob (cut corn off the cob – don’t bite into it with front teeth)
  • Burgers and meats (cut into small bites and don’t bite into burgers with front teeth)


You’ll also want to remember to avoid chewing on or biting non-food items too. Things like fingernails, pens, and pencils can cause damage to your braces just as much as the foods listed above!

And don’t forget that the best beverage is good old fashioned water! Sugary sodas and other sweet beverages are particularly bad for your teeth while undergoing treatment with braces. Putting in time, effort, and money to move your teeth and improve your smile won’t turn out well if your teeth end up decayed from sugary drinks!

Feel free to bookmark this page as a handy reference guide of foods to avoid for the duration of your orthodontic treatment. And if you have questions about any food choices, let us know and we’re happy to answer any questions you have!