Why Are Certain Foods a No-No With Braces?

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Barakat Orthodontics

Dear Dr. Barakat,

My teenage son, who got his braces put on last week, is a picky eater and doesn’t like to try new foods. It’s been really difficult finding things he wants to eat and with the holidays coming, I don’t want him to miss out on his favorite foods. It won’t really hurt his braces to eat what he likes, will it?

– Concerned Parent

Dear Concerned Parent,

It’s always a struggle to get a picky eater to try new things. As a parent of a picky eater, you find yourself thinking that eating anything is better than nothing, even if “anything” isn’t always the healthiest option. There are many reasons to make sure your teenager follows the approved food list provided by your orthodontist.

Crunchy and hard foods and snacks can damage the brackets and wires that your orthodontist just placed. Chips, hard candy, and even ice can break brackets and loosen wires. If this occurs, your son will need an extra visit to his orthodontist to fix the broken parts of his braces, leading to extra time wearing his braces.

Chewy foods and candy, such as gum, taffy, gummy and fruit snacks can become stuck in and around the brackets and ultimately in between your son’s teeth. Because his new braces are in place, it will be more difficult to remove these sticky substances from his teeth and his gum line, which can lead to tooth decay and costly cavities and fillings.

Remember, there are many things your son still can eat! Cut meat up into smaller pieces during your holiday meal so that he can enjoy it without having it impact his braces. Mashed potatoes and steamed vegetables are soft enough to enjoy without needing extra preparation. Making sure fruits and raw vegetables are cut into bite-sized pieces before eating will minimize the chance of bracket damage. Your son can even continue to enjoy his favorite pizza, as long as he avoids eating the crust!

With a little creativity on your part, your teenager will still enjoy the holidays with his favorite foods. Taking some time to prepare the proper, orthodontist-approved foods now will save you extra hours in the orthodontist office later.

– Dr. Barakat


Dr. Rana Barakat, a board-certified specialist in Orthodontics, has been proudly serving Northern Virginia for more than 20-years! She has built her practice on a personal touch and excellent treatment.

As a parent, she understands wanting the best for your children in giving them beautiful, confident smiles. She makes it a priority to ensure optimal results, but also believes that each patient’s experience during treatment is just as important as the clinical result. As the 2015-16 President of the Virginia Association of Orthodontists, Dr. Barakat’s dedication and expertise reflect why her peers continue to nominate her as a Top Dentist.

Barakat Orthodontics is located at 45745 Nokes Blvd., Ste. 175, Sterling, VA 20166. Connect with them by clicking: online, Facebook, Twitter, and calling: (703) 433-9330.

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