Candy and Braces: Do's & Dont's

Candy and Braces: Do’s & Dont’s

If you or your child have just completed a procedure to get braces, or are considering getting braces in the near future, you may be curious what aftercare will be like. While some dietary restrictions may be placed on you or your child by your orthodontist after getting braces put on, the procedure does not need to be entirely life-altering.

That said, there are certain do’s and don’ts when it comes to eating with braces on. One of the most commonly asked questions about what a child can eat with braces on comes in the form of addressing many children’s favorite food—candy!

Be sure to ask your orthodontist for direction on which foods to avoid as the braces are on, working to correct your teeth, so that you avoid creating additional problems that will need to be addressed later.

What Candy Should I Avoid While Wearing Braces?

Having braces should not cause any major changes in your day-to-day activities. You can still dine out, sing, play a musical instrument, or have pictures taken. With proper care and maintenance, you can promote your oral health while on your way to a more beautiful smile.

But naturally, certain foods will be problematic while wearing braces, and many forms of candy can indeed be problematic both for the braces themselves as well as for your teeth more generally. 

Candy to avoid while wearing braces includes:

  • Chewing gum - repetitive chewing can stick to and bend the wires over time
  • Caramel - sticky candies like caramel can dislodge a bracket
  • Taffy - similar to caramel, as it sticks to surfaces of the appliances and cause damage to the brackets and wires
  • Softer chews - fruit and chocolate chews are a little softer and easier to consume than caramel or taffy, but they can cause similar issues
  • Hard candies, suckers and lollipops - candies that are sucked on disperse sugar over the teeth as they slowly melt, which isn’t great for teeth at any time, but especially not for those with braces. 

Overall, chewy and hard candy alike can be problematic for children with braces. In addition to the physical damage they can do to the hardware itself, we all know the effects sugary foods can have on teeth, even teeth without braces on them. The braces can compound the problem, as lingering particles of sugary candy stuck in braces can cause cavities to form more regularly than what might occur in a child without braces.

What Candy Can I Eat While Wearing Braces?

It’s not all bad news for candy lovers and those with a “sweet tooth.” Softer sweet treats may be permissible by your orthodontist, depending on your care plan and dental history. Ask your orthodontist for a list of candy and sweets that you can eat while wearing braces.

Softer treats, like cake, brownies, soft cookies and other baked goods may be just what the…well, not what the doctor ordered, but what your doctor may allow. We know that children will always want to sneak a sweet treat here and there. Better to let the child know what the allowable foods are while wearing braces, so they don’t sneak any of the “forbidden fruit” listed above. 

And speaking of fruit, softer fruits may be enough to satisfy that sweet tooth in some children. So, if an orange, peach or apple can replace the need for actual candy in your child’s discretionary diet, try to encourage your child to choose fruit over hard candy and chewy substances.

Try to choose softer foods while wearing braces, and cut your or your child’s foods into smaller pieces before eating, rather than trying to bite through them. Chop whole fruits, such as apples or pears, into bite-sized pieces before eating, and always avoid chewing gum and chomping on hard candies or even ice.

Finally, while we’re on the topic of do’s and don'ts when it comes to eating while wearing braces, here are some other foods to avoid that, while not all sweet, are common temptations for kids wearing braces.

  • Popcorn
  • Tortilla Chips
  • Pretzels
  • Cheetos
  • Nuts
  • Granola Bars
  • Raw Vegetables
  • Hard Tacos

To learn more about what you can and cannot eat while wearing braces, or to learn about braces aftercare more generally, please visit https://www.greaterhartfordortho.com/braces-care/.