We have carefully resumed routine orthodontic care to serve you. Please see our safety procedures here and call us for your next visit.

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Why the Banned Foods List Matters

Every current and former orthodontic patient knows about the banned foods list.

It can mostly be summarized as “don’t eat anything too hard or too sticky.” Do all our new patients know why it’s so important to avoid the foods on that list?

The Dangers of Banned Foods

Biting down too quickly on something hard or pulling back too quickly off something sticky are just two ways banned foods can pop a bracket loose. Every time a bracket comes loose, Braces Off Day gets pushed back farther. That’s why popcorn, nuts, ice, chewing gum, hard candy, chewy candy, pizza crust, bagels or other hard rolls, crunchy vegetables and fruits, hard crackers, pretzels, and chips are all on the banned foods list.

Other Risky Foods

There are foods that aren’t on the list that it’s still a good idea to cut back on — namely, anything with a lot of sugar. It’s even harder to clear away leftover food particles as a braces-wearer because of all the extra nooks and crannies for them to hide in, which leads to more plaque buildup.

Tasty Alternatives to Banned Foods

  • Swap caramel for caramel pudding. The trouble with sticky foods like gum and caramel is that they can get stuck between brackets and even pull one loose, but caramel pudding has the same taste without the stickiness!
  • Swap popcorn for puffcorn. Leave the popcorn hulls behind and enjoy the taste of popcorn in a braces-safe way with puffcorn, which won’t get stuck between wires and teeth.
  • Swap tortilla chips for pita bread. Much like popcorn, chips and other crunchy snacks can get stuck in your hardware and potentially pop a bracket loose. Pita bread is a tasty soft alternative that you can still use with your favorite dips.
  • Skip the cobs and whole apples. It’s not the texture of apples and corn that makes it dangerous for braces, but the shape! Cut the kernels off the cob and slice the apples before enjoying them.
  • Choose clear drinks. Colas and coffee put our teeth at major risk of staining around the brackets. Their high sugar content also creates a feast for harmful oral bacteria. Minimize your risk of tooth decay and stains by choosing clear and sugar-free beverages. You can even get clear coffee!

Bring Us Your Damaged Brackets

Even patients who are very diligent in avoiding the banned foods list sometimes break a bracket or wire. If that happens to you, get in touch to schedule an appointment. It’s important to get it repaired quickly so that it doesn’t impact your treatment timeline. Now why not go enjoy some apple slices dipped in caramel pudding?

We love helping our patients make it to Braces-Off Day!

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.