It’s sad, but there are certain foods you need to avoid when wearing braces—even if you love to eat them. In some cases, the foods aren’t good for you anyway, so you’ll be healthier for avoiding them (we’re looking at you, soft, sugary sweets!). In other cases, the food item could damage or break your wires, which could cause you pain and require time to repair.

#10: Whole Apples and Other Crunchy Fruits

While apples and slightly unripe pears or nectarines are excellent for your health, you should never bite into one whole while wearing braces. Biting off chunks of anything hard with your front teeth could lead to serious wire damage. Instead, cut the fruit into wedges or slices.

#9: Uncooked Vegetables

Like fruit, vegetables are excellent for your health, but biting into large, raw pieces of a veggie, such as a whole carrot, is asking for trouble. Avoid eating raw veggies that are hard, such as carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, and celery. You can still cook them to enjoy their wholesomeness!

#8: Popcorn

Popcorn contains hulls, which get stuck in wires and between teeth. Ouch!  If you just got to have some popcorn, check out Pirate’s Booty.  It’s rice/corn puff snack that is similar to popcorn without the unpopped kernels and hulls.

#7: Chips and Pretzels

They’re popular party fare, but chips and pretzels are a no-no when wearing braces. Sharp corners and strong crunch are both bad for wires.

#6: Nuts

Another crunchy snack, nuts can really mess with your braces. Instead, use smooth nut butters.

#5: Hard Rolls and French Bread

Avoid any bread that you have to tear with your teeth or that is ultra-chewy, such as hard rolls or French bread. Cut or tear rolls and artisan-style breads into small, bite-sized pieces before eating, and be sure to use your back teeth to chew.

#4: Ice

Some people like to chew ice. When you have braces, just don’t.  Even if you don’t have braces, please stop chewing ice.  It’s really bad for your teeth.

#3: Gum

Sugary gum is extremely sticky and will stick to wires and brackets, causing a cleanup nightmare. Most people that use sugar free chewing gum don’t have any braces problems.

#2: Sticky, Hard Candy

Many candy bars and hard candies are terrible for braces. If you “need” some candy, stick with chocolate.  Make sure it doesn’t have nuts (#6), caramel (#1) or any other sticky, chewy filling.

#1: Soft Candy

If it’s gooey and sticky, keep it out of your mouth when you’ve got braces on your teeth. Caramel, gummy bears, soft licorice, and other soft sweets are notorious for breaking wires. In addition, these kinds of candies get in under your braces and can cause serious tooth decay, as they are hard to brush away.

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