By Dr. John White,
Braces by White

Even with all the advancements in dental technology, those same Jolly Rancher hard candies we bought at the candy store decades ago and the saltwater taffy we ate every time we went to the amusement park still can damage braces.

Braces are designed to stay on your teeth for a couple of years (or whatever your specific treatment plan is), but if you put enough force on them at the right angle, the wires can bend and the brackets can pop off.

Most patients go through the entire treatment without breaking braces, but there are some who visit me every month for repairs—usually due to eating hard, sticky or bulky foods.

While I don’t have an all-inclusive list of what not to eat, here is a general guideline of foods to avoid during your orthodontic treatment.

• Popcorn
• Nuts
• Hard taco shells and nachos
• Extra crunchy chips
• Hard candy, such peanut brittle and suckers

• Gum
• Taffy
• Licorice
• Caramel
• Jelly beans
• Gummy candy
• Fruit rollups

• Beef jerky
• Crusty breads, such as bagels, pizza crust and French baguettes
• Whole apples (cut up in smaller pieces instead of sinking your teeth into the whole apple)
• Raw vegetables (steam to soften them or cut up before eating)
• Corn on the cob (remove corn from the husk before eating)
• Ribs and chicken wings (cut into bite-size pieces instead of eating off the bone)