Hard and sticky foods will break and/or damage wires and brackets. This can cause delays in treatment, and require inconvenient, additional visits to repair the braces and may result in additional cost. Minimizing sugar and carbonated beverage intake is essential during your orthodontic treatment to help prevent not only breakage but de-calcification (bright white scars on enamel) and tooth decay.
Think the 3 “F’s”
Broken braces are most often caused by:
Food: The biggest culprits: ice, hard candy (lollipops, taffy, caramel), and pizza crust.
Fingers: Picking at braces will break the bracket and the wires.
Foreign objects: Biting on pens, pencils, fingers, sleeves, and hoodie ties.
- Pop and beverages: In terms of dental destruction, sugared pop is in a league of its own. The combination of acid and sugar literally dissolves enamel. Sports drinks, energy drinks and juice all have combination effects of acid dissolving enamel along with sugar to feed the bacteria that then eats the weakened enamel.
- Sugar intake: Sugary foods will stimulate plaque formation that hides around the braces. The acid of the plaque is being formed right at the area of contact thereby weakening the tooth and the brace glue.
- Genetic and tooth formation factors: Some patients genetically have an altered enamel structure. This is usually noted by a “mottled” look to the teeth with brighter white areas of enamel. Others acquired it from long-term antibiotic use. Regardless of cause, the bonding agents do not adhere as strongly to this type of enamel. These patients must take extra care in their orthodontic diets.
FOODS TO AVOID
- Beef jerky
- Hard pretzels (thin pretzels are OK)
Candy (please note it is not possible to list every candy brand):
- Taffy candies: Starbursts, Airheads, Laffy Taffy, Tootsie Rolls, Now and Laters, etc.
- Hard candies: Jolly Ranchers, Lifesavers, Tic Tacs, Lollipops, Candy Canes, etc.
- Chewies: Skittles, Good and Plenty, Twizzlers, Fruit Roll Ups, etc.
- Caramels: Sugar Daddy’s, Brown Cow, etc.
Break or cut into smaller pieces:
- Tortilla chips/ taco chips
- Pizza crust
- French bread
- Some fresh fruits and veggies
Avoid sugary drinks:
- Fruit juice
- Soda pop
- Gatorade and other sports drinks
- Energy drinks
- Kool Aid, etc.