Why Are Certain Foods a No-No With Braces?


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Dear Dr. Barakat,

My teenage son, who got his braces on last week, is a picky eater and doesn’t like to try new foods. It’s been challenging 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?


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.

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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 his braces’ broken parts, 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 gum line, leading to tooth decay and costly cavities and fillings.

Remember, there are many things your son can still 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’s office later.


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 by 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 by visiting them online, or get social with them on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter. Barakat Orthodontics can also be reached at (703) 433-9330.


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