When wearing braces, it is important to avoid certain foods, or to get them processed somehow. When food gets stuck in your braces, bacteria start to eat away at it, and this harms the already vulnerable tooth enamel (orthodontic treatment always puts the patient at slightly more increased risk of tooth decay as the teeth are under stress). It may be difficult to remove sticky and gooey foods, or ones with tiny parts in them. Here are the 5 foods we recommend avoiding while in braces.
Toffee, Gum, Jelly beans
Gooey candy like caramel, toffee, jelly beans, licorice and other candies that linger for an extended amount of time like lollipops and hard candies should not be eaten while in braces. The thick, bacteria laden biofilm that these foods create cannot be diluted with saliva enough, and can cause tooth decay. What’s worse, sticky candy can get caught in your braces and can be a real mess to clean out. Toffee and fruit roll ups have been know to dislodge brackets and wiring, too.
Corn on the cob
One of my favorite fall foods is sadly off of the list for orthodontic patients. The cellulose from corn is quite tough an durable, and get caught on orthodontic appliances or get lodged in between teeth and brackets. Corn is almost as sugar laden as candy, and is easily broken down by bacteria, leading to a heightened risk of tooth decay. The mechanism by which corn is removed from the cob is also bad for braces, and can dent or damage the brackets. Brackets can come off if they get caught in the cob itself, too. While it is a poor substitute, creamed corn does not mess with braces as much, although it is also quite high in carbohydrates.
Potato chips and bread
Potato chips in particular, but most starchy foods can gather on the braces in a sticky gunk that is- aside from being unsightly- very hard to remove. The gunk from potato chips, bread, and other products are high in carbs, and should not be left sitting around on the braces for too long.
While citrus fruits in and of themselves are not bad for teeth or braces, they can cause damage to both. The trick is to eat it properly. Sucking the juice from the fruit or biting from the peel are no good, as these motions can dislodge the bracket or loosen them, both of which are a bad idea. Cut the peel off, and cut oranges, tangerines or any other citrus fruit into smaller chunks, for easier consumption.
The absolute worst thing for your teeth is actually carbonated, sugary beverages. Not only are they full of more sugar than most candies, they are also liquid, which means that the substance can get all around your mouth, meaning that all of the bacteria in your mouth have access to a ton of sugar. Carbonated beverages are also acidic, which is bad for your tooth enamel. The coloring agents in some soft drinks have also been known to discolor teeth and braces.