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Food Preferences and Habits in Orthodontic Treatment

Orthodontist Recommendations

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Great Looks - Best Alignment
Orthodontic treatment can incorporate a variety of different products and materials that have characteristic methods of attachment to individual teeth or overall dentition that are designed to produce the tooth movements desired by the orthodontist or dentist.

Brace wires, cementation bonds and attached brackets can bend, break or fall off when care is not exercised in the choice of foods and snacks.

Expanders used on the upper or lower jaws to alter occlusal features are also affected in a similar fashion.

Food Basics

The modifications to food preferences for both children and adults wearing orthodontic appliances fall into four areas:
1. No Hard Foods
2. No Sticky Foods
3. Bite Portions Cut Into Smaller Pieces
4. Eliminating or Limiting High Sugar Content Foods and Beverages

Changing Our Habits and Choices

Hard Foods to Avoid:
Manyy common hard foods can cause physical damage by bending wires, loosening the cement under the bands or breaking brackets that are bonded to the teeth.
  • Ice
  • Corn chips
  • Hard Pizza Crust
  • Hard Breads (bagels, French bread, hard rolls)
  • Hard Candy (Jolly Ranchers, etc.)
  • Hard Nuts (filberts, brazil, etc)
  • Lollipops (e.g., Tootsie Roll Pops)
  • Peppermint sticks - candy canes
  • Lifesavers
  • Popcorn kernels (partially or not popped)
  • Large pretzels
Sticky Food No - No's
Sticky foods can damage ortho appliances by bending wires and loosening the cement and can quite literally pull them off the teetn.
  • Gum (especially bubble gum)
  • Jelly beans
  • Caramels
  • Now and Later candy
  • Tootsie rolls
  • Starburst
  • Licorice
  • Taffy
  • Skittles
  • Sugar Daddies
  • Peanut Brittle
  • Candy Apples
Unusual Biting or Chewing Habits to Get Rid of:
  • Fingernails
  • Ball point pens
  • Pencils
  • Using teeth as a tool (opening packages, wire stripping)
Favorite Foods To Do List
  • Carrots and celery: grate or cut into thinner pieces
  • Apples: cut into smaller bite size portions
  • Corn on the cob: remove from cob
  • Ribs and Chicken: remove from bone
  • Cereals without nuts or hard pieces
  • Tender cooked meats - no wrestling match chewing
  • Enjoy more fruits: strawberries, kiwi, sliced bananas

General Concepts

Food consumption choices and habits can be difficult to change, especially during the first few days after treatment has started.

In the event it is suspected that a wire or bracket has seemingly moved or looks different, contact your care provider immediately. Damaged appliances that are not repaired will interfere with alignment goals and can extend overall treatment time.

Editorial Staff

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