Bücco - Ortho guide
Food and braces

Food and braces

How can I eat, and brush my teeth, with all that metal in my mouth?

This page is designed to give you information on which foods you can eat and which you need to avoid while you’re wearing braces. Orthodontic treatment is not a punishment; you don't have to deprive yourself of everything you like. If you follow these instructions, you’ll get through the treatment quickly and with little difficulty. Every time a brace comes off or a wire breaks, treatment cannot proceed as planned and the total time increases. If that happens, notify your orthodontist so that things can be immediately corrected.

Why not gum?

While you can eat almost anything, chewing gum is definitely not on that list. You may ask, “Why not gum? I love it. And my friends who wear braces, they all chew it.” There are legitimate reasons for denying you this treat: Chewing gum causes orthodontic wires to become more fatigued than from regular eating. If you think about how to break a piece of metal without wire cutters, you would bend the wire back and forth in the same spot. Chewing gum has that same effect on the wire. It can also break off the ligatures that help hold the wire onto the braces, or cause the wire in the back to come off the braces. When that happens, teeth can move in the wrong direction and treatment can end up taking longer to complete.

Special attention should be paid to how certain foods are eaten

While most foods are fine, it’s how they’re eaten that you’ll need to pay attention to in order to avoid problems with your braces:

  • Any food that becomes soft when cooked, such as carrots, potatoes, chicken and beef, can be eaten normally. For meat, be sure to eat it in small pieces, since big dense pieces can push on and displace wires. Also watch out for chicken and beef bones, since they can easily dislodge the braces.
  • Raw vegetables, like carrots, cauliflower, broccoli and celery, should all be cut into small 5-mm-thick slices or sticks. Celery threads won't get stuck in your appliances if the celery is cut into thin slices.
  • Regular potato chips can be eaten normally but hard or crispy chips should be broken up into small pieces.
    Once in your mouth, allow the saliva to soften them before chewing.
  • Let cereal soften in milk before you eat it.
  • Popcorn is very damaging to orthodontic appliances. If you really cannot resist eating it, take only fully popped pieces and carefully crush them between your teeth without fully biting down. Unpopped or undercooked pieces are much too hard to eat and should be avoided.
  • Hard candies will unglue braces and sticky candies can bend or dislodge the wires. For hard, soft or sticky candies, let them melt in your mouth (which is even better, since it lasts longer). For hard chocolate, break it into small pieces and, again, let them melt in your mouth. Don’t forget to brush your teeth afterward. Soft chocolate such as Aero bars can be eaten normally, but be careful that they don’t contain almonds or other nuts. Avoid candies such as caramels or jujubes.
  • It is not recommended to eat corn on the cob. It’s best to remove the corn with a knife.
  • Do not chew ice cubes. They are much too hard.
  • You can eat nuts but only if they are no thicker than a half a peanut or half an almond. Any thicker than that and you will need to break them into smaller and thinner pieces.
  • Be careful with certain bread crusts. Some are hard enough to break your appliances.
  • If you eat fruits with pits, be careful not to bite down on the pit; it’s much safer to simply remove the pit before eating—same goes for olives.
  • If you want to eat an apple, cut it into quarters and remove the core.
  • There are other things we sometimes put in our mouth, namely pencils, pens, forks, spoons, fingernails and other hard objects: biting down on any of these can break your the appliance.

Additional instructions

Certain musical instruments have mouthpieces that come into contact with the teeth. Bring us the mouthpiece so we can see how it can affect your teeth or appliances.

It is equally important to protect your appliances during sports activities, with certain sports requiring you to wear a mouthguard. Swimming with your appliances is fine since the metal and plastic are not adversely affected by water, while, a sport like boxing is obviously out of the question.

Be careful to not get your appliances caught in a sweater. It's bad for your braces—and the sweater. If something breaks, please advise us, even if it happens only a few days before your visit and it doesn’t involve any pain or discomfort. We want to help you right away, and might be able to fit you in to an earlier appointment.

Breakage or discomfort

Your teeth may feel sore for two or three days following each appointment, especially at the beginning of treatment. This is all very normal. We suggest that you eat a diet of soft foods during that time. If the pain is too intense, you may want to take an analgesic such as Tylenol or Advil.

Wax sticks

The wax sticks that were given to you when the braces were put in should be used only if your cheeks or lips become irritated. If this discomfort continues, please let us know so we can make the necessary adjustments.
There is usually a period of adaptation during the first seven to 10 days, with the irritation (which often feels like a burning sensation on the lips and cheeks) gradually disappearing. During this period, try to avoid using the wax and allow your cheeks and lips to become more resistant. Use the wax only if you develop a canker.

You don’t have to worry about your orthodontic treatment. And if something seems strange to you, please call. We’ll be happy to answer any questions you have.