Foods to Avoid with Braces

Orthodontic Treatment in North Potomac, MD

At the office of Dr. Charles C. Harrington, our mission is to help our patients achieve beautiful, radiant smiles through convenient orthodontic treatment. As a leading orthodontist serving North Potomac, Gaithersburg, Kentlands/Lakelands, and the surrounding areas, we're proud to offer a wide range of treatment options including discreet options like Invisalign, but traditional metal braces are still the most popular treatment we offer. Modern braces are more comfortable and more convenient than those of the past, but you'll still need to make a number of adjustments to your life during treatment. And some of the most significant apply to your diet. 

Foods That Can Damage Braces

During treatment, you'll need to avoid any foods that could pose a risk of harming your braces or your teeth. Generally speaking, this includes hard foods, crunchy foods, sticky foods, gooey foods, and foods packed with sugar. Hard foods can break off brackets while sticky foods can get trapped under archwires and damage your braces. Sugary foods don't pose a direct threat to braces, but they do cause dental decay. Because you're at an increased risk of decay during treatment, it's best to limit or avoid these foods to prevent cavities. 

Most of the time, you'll need to rely on common sense to determine which foods you should avoid. But to help you get an idea, here's a quick list of some of the most common foods you'll need to avoid while wearing braces:


Hard Foods That Can Hurt Braces:


  • Bagels

  • Hard pizza crust

  • Chips

  • Corn on the cob (ok when cut off the cob)

  • Hard fruits & veggies like apples or raw carrots (ok if cut into bite-size pieces)

  • Ice

  • Bread with hard crust like French bread

  • Hard taco shells

  • Nuts


Sticky Foods That Can Hurt Braces:


  • Gum

  • Toffee

  • Caramels

  • Starburst

  • Sugar Daddies

  • Tootsie Rolls

  • Licorice


Sugary Foods to Minimize with Braces:


  • Candy

  • Cookies

  • Ice Cream

  • Pie

  • Cake

  • Soda

  • Sweet Tea

  • Gatorade

  • Any sugary drinks


Contact Your Kentlands/Lakelands Orthodontist

This list can tell you the types of foods you'll need to avoid during orthodontic treatment, but it's crucial to take a proactive approach and use common sense when deciding if a food is safe to eat with braces. And as always, we're here to help. If you have more questions about your diet during treatment or want to schedule an appointment at our orthodontic office, just reach out to us at our contact page. We can't wait to hear from you, and we look forward to helping you achieve a gorgeous new smile!For most situations, common sense will tell you what to avoid. Hard foods, sticky foods and foods high in sugar must be avoided. Hard foods can break or damage wires and brackets. Sticky foods can get caught between brackets and wires. Minimize sugary foods; they cause tooth decay and related problems. Nail biting, pencil and pen chewing and chewing on foreign objects should be avoided.