The Complete List of What Not to Eat with Braces

The Complete List of What Not to Eat with Braces


Many of our patients are concerned about what they can’t eat with braces, but rest assured, there’s much more that you can eat than foods that are off-limits! Still, it’s important to know exactly which foods to avoid when you have braces.

Sticky Foods to Avoid with Braces

Sticky foods may break off your brackets or become caught between your brackets and wires.

  • Gum (sugar-free or regular)
  • Licorice
  • Sugar Daddies
  • Toffee
  • Tootsie Rolls
  • Caramels
  • Starburst
  • Skittles
  • Laffy-Taffy
  • Gummy bears
  • Airheads
  • Sour Patch Kids
  • Swedish Fish
  • Snickers
  • Twix
  • Jelly beans
  • Now & Laters
  • Milk Duds
  • Fruit roll-ups (and other fruit snacks)
  • Caramel apples

Hard Foods to Avoid with Braces

Hard foods can break off your brackets, which is considered an orthodontic emergency.

  • Ice
  • Nuts
  • Hard taco shells
  • French bread crust/rolls
  • Bagels
  • Corn chips (Doritos, Fritos, tortilla chips)
  • Jolly Ranchers
  • Pizza crust
  • Pretzels
  • Croutons
  • Beef jerky
  • Hard candies
  • SweetTarts
  • Lifesavers
  • Hard granola bars
  • Jawbreakers
  • Shelled sunflower seeds

Foods to Cut Into Smaller Pieces

These foods are fine to eat as long as you cut them into bite-sized pieces first.

  • Apples 
  • Hard pears
  • Uncooked carrots
  • Corn on the cob (remove from the cob with a knife or corn zipper tool)
  • Uncooked broccoli (large pieces)
  • Uncooked celery
  • Uncooked cauliflower (large pieces)
  • Steak

Sugary Foods to Cut Back On

Foods that are high in sugar can cause plaque buildup around your brackets, leaving your teeth more susceptible to cavities.

  • Cake
  • Ice Cream
  • Cookies
  • Pie
  • Candy
  • Chocolate

Drinks to Enjoy Once a Day Only

Choose any one of the beverages listed below. (You can’t have one of each!)

  • Soda
  • Sweetened tea
  • Gatorade
  • Kool-Aid
  • Drinks with sugar
  • Juice

The Bottom Line

For anything not on the list above, use your common sense. Is the food hard enough to break off a bracket? Could it get stuck? Is it a food known for causing cavities? You should also avoid nail biting, pencil and pen chewing, and chewing on any objects other than food, as these habits can also cause your brackets to break off.

When you notice that a wire is loose or poking your cheek, or a bracket either becomes loose or breaks off, it’s important to let our office know right away. Even if you are diligent with avoiding the foods listed above, it’s common for most patients to deal with an orthodontic emergency at some point during their treatment. If you don’t take care of your broken bracket or wire in a timely manner, it can potentially prolong your treatment time. 

Learn More About Braces

Do you have braces and need a refresher on which foods you can or can’t eat? Are you considering orthodontic treatment for you or your child? To get started with your orthodontic treatment, call Hass Family Orthodontics today at 828-464-5300. Or, request an appointment online.