10 Foods to Avoid with Braces

Although your new, glowing smile makes braces worth all the pain and suffering, there are definitely some sacrifices your taste buds have to make. Here are the top foods to avoid with braces.

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a smile mouth of asian girl and she has green braces
Toey Toey/Shutterstock

Getting braces is painful. And to add insult to injury, you’re forbidden to eat certain foods for the duration of the treatment! These are the most common meals and ingredients you should avoid.

Just got braces? Here are some soft foods you can eat during those rough first few days.

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chewing gum
Africa Studio/Shutterstock

Chewing gum

Rule #1: No chewing gum. Not only could it potentially get stuck to those shiny dental railroad tracks, but it can also warp the wires. If you simply must have minty-fresh breath, try these homemade candies instead.

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Salt popcorn on the wooden table
Oxana Denezhkina/Shutterstock


You’ll have to pick a new food to devour during movies—popcorn wreaks havoc on braces. The kernels have the potential to break wires and brackets, and the pesky husks tend to get firmly wedged between your teeth. By the way, do you know the difference between white and yellow kernels?

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Herbed Grilled Corn on the Cob
Taste of Home

Corn on the cob

Forget about eating corn the fun, messy way. While you can still enjoy fresh corn, you’ll have to cut it off the cob and use it in one of these tasty recipes instead.

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Round Warm Everything Bagels Ready to Eat
Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

Chewy breads

Breads that give your jaw a workout like bagels and pizza crust are not your friend if you have braces. If you’re absolutely desperate for a taste, you can tear them into small pieces and chew with your back teeth.

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Red apples or Gala apples with fresh leaf and water drop on wooden background.

Whole apples

While it isn’t a good idea to sink your teeth into an apple when you have braces, you can always cut some up and cook them down. They’re arguably better with loads of butter and sugar anyway.

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Nuts mix in a wooden plate; Shutterstock ID 355672364


Even if you’re nuts about nuts, you should avoid eating them while wearing braces—bent wires can really slow down the straightening process. Eat some homemade peanut butter instead.

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Soft Chewy Caramels
TMB Studio

Chewy candies

Candies that are super sticky are a no-no, as they can easily pull the brackets right off your teeth. Save your taffy and caramels for that glorious day when those braces are removed. (You can celebrate with our best caramel recipes!)

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Colored peppers and onions diced on a chopping board
Krzysztof Slusarczyk/Shutterstock

Raw vegetables

No matter how good they are for you, raw vegetables can cause a lot of problems with braces. Cook them down to soften them, or better yet, make some juice! Here’s a guide to get you started.

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Beef Jerky. Selective focus.


Jerky is hard enough to eat without braces, so just imagine the damage it can do to those brackets and wires! While you wait for those braces to come off, learn how to make jerky in the oven.

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Makeover red velvet cake
Taste of Home

Food Coloring

Some colored foods can dye your rubber braces bands—especially if you’ve chosen clear ones. So if you don’t want to get crazy with the band colors, stay away from red velvet cake for now. Psst! These are our best red velvet recipes.

Grace Mannon
Grace learned a ton about the nitty-gritty of food and nutrition while earning her master’s degree in food science. She worked for a well-known baby food company and a company responsible for many favorite snack foods before transitioning to being a stay-at-home mom. She loves writing about complicated food science concepts in an understandable way and as a Taste of Home contributor, Grace covers a little bit of everything, from vintage recipes to must-have holiday foods and treats.