Ten Things You Shouldn’t Do While Wearing Braces

Things You Shouldnt Eat With Braces

Published by Dr. Charles Gemmi

A Board Certified Orthodontist and a Diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics, Dr. Charles Gemmi has been a practicing orthodontist with Orthodontics Limited since 2000 and is a member of the teaching staff at Einstein Medical Center. Orthodontics Limited is a Diamond+ Provider of Invisalign in Philadelphia and Hatboro, PA.

Last Update: 25 Jan 2022

Whether you just got your braces on or you have had them on for months, you’ve probably discovered a few things that you shouldn’t do while wearing braces. Your orthodontist has probably given you a list of things that he would prefer you didn’t do while wearing braces, and the longer you wear them, the more you will learn about what makes them hurt, what breaks off your brackets, and what shifts your wires. In order to avoid pain during the brace-wearing process, it’s important to follow the instructions of your orthodontist. In case you need a refresher, here are ten things you should do while wearing braces:

1. Chew on Ice

You already know ice is hard and cold, and it’s not good to chew on ice, even without braces, but it can be especially bad when you do have your braces on. As you bite down on a piece of ice, it can easily break off a bracket or bend your wire—both of which can be extremely painful and both of which will require a visit with Dr. Gemmi and Dr. Middleberg, who will probably scold you about chewing on ice while wearing braces.

2. Chew Gum

When wearing braces, it’s best to stay away from as much sticky food as possible. Why? Because anything that sticks to your teeth means it will also stick to your braces, and that means it can pull on your wires and brackets, and even the bands around your molars. As you chew and chew, you repeatedly put stress and strain on your brackets, wires, and bands, which can cause them to break, move out of alignment, or just start to ache. Gum is the biggest culprit, but anything sticky and chewing should be avoided.

3. Forget to Floss

Forgetting to (or just not flossing) while wearing braces can mean serious problems both while you are wearing your braces and after you get them off. Food particles get stuck between your teeth and mix with bacteria, creating plaque that eats away at your enamel and damages the structural integrity of your teeth. It’s easy to just not floss when you have braces, getting the floss up in between your teeth with a wire across the front is difficult, but it is worth it in the end.

4. Forget to take out your bands while eating.

If you have rubber bands to help move your jaw, it’s important to take them out before eating. Not only can they get extremely dirty and mucked as you eat, they are also more likely to snap and break. Not only is this often painful, it could lead to you swallowing a piece of your rubber band—it’s not going to hurt you, but it’s not a good idea, either.

5. Get hit in the face.

This is usually not something that happens on purpose (whether it is an accident or intentional on the other’s person’s part), but if it can be avoided, it should be avoided. If you are playing a game on a console with motion capture technology, make sure you are well out of arm-swinging range. Not only will a strike to the mouth damage your teeth, the metal in your mouth can hurt your lips, checks, and gums and even break off or become dislodged.

6. Drink sugary or carbonated beverages.

While wearing braces, it’s more important than ever to protect your teeth from sugar. Too much sugar, acid, and carbonation can actually damage the glue that holds your brackets onto your teeth, and that makes it much easier to pop off a bracket or for sugar and bacteria to get under the bracket and start forming a cavity. Staying away from sugary beverages is especially important if you have Invisalign, instead of traditional bracket and wire braces, as the beverage can get inside the aligner and bathe your teeth in sugar and acid.

7. Play a wind instrument until the inside of your mouth adjusts.

If you play a wind instrument, you have probably already experienced the pain of trying to play while you have braces. While you shouldn’t stop playing all together, you should give your teeth and mouth time to adjust to the braces (form calluses on the inside of your lips), so that pressing a mouthpiece against your lips does not hurt so badly. Once you have your braces on, work your way back up to your regular playing and practicing regimen.

8. Neglect to report problems to Dr. Gemmi and Dr. Middleberg.

Don’t leave vital information out of your report to Dr. Gemmi and Dr. Middleberg, just because you are afraid he might scold you. He knows that sometimes breaking a bracket or shifting a wire is just unavoidable. It happens. If you are in pain, have lost a bracket, or shifted your wire out of place, be sure to make an appointment to get it fixed. Don’t just leave it for your next regularly scheduled appointment, as it can prolong your treatment.

9. Use your teeth as tools.

Again, this is true even when you are not wearing braces, but it is especially important while you do have braces. Don’t use them to tear open bags, to open drink bottles, to straighten or bend wire, etc. Teeth are teeth and should be used for eating. Doing these other tasks can weaken them, causing them to chip, fracture, or break, and it can be especially hard on your braces.

10. Grind your teeth.

If you do this during the day—many people do this subconsciously as a stress response, practice correcting yourself so that you can learn not to grind your teeth when you are feeling stress. If you do this while you sleep, talk to Dr. Gemmi and Dr. Middleberg about some kind of guard or application you can wear to keep your teeth from grinding against each other.

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82 responses to “Ten Things You Shouldn’t Do While Wearing Braces”

  1. Debbie lee says:

    Why?????? I love soda and I love gum. And how are we going to try to not get hit in the face?? What if you don’t have floss? What if you can’t remember to not eat sticky, good things? Can we eat candy at all? I chew ice a lot ant my dentest says that I might need braces, which I am scared of. I have an overbite, and my friend has braces and she says that they hurt a lot when they tighten them. I really don’t like braces!!!

    • Chill out says:

      Wow… Ok first take a breather, and then try and chill out a little bit. It sounds like you should stop having sugary things like soda and gum. Don’t annoy people and get hit in the face. Buy floss. Put a sticky note on your bathroom mirror for sticky foods. Try not to eat candy. Don’t take water with ice. Your overbite will be corrected. Braces hurt a bit for a day or two when they are tightened, so grow up. You don’t even have braces, so stop freaking out. I think that covers it.

    • Megan says:

      Oh for god sakes. You don’t even have braces. You can drink coke with braces, nothing is stopping you. Just think, if you drank loads and loads of sugary drinks with braces, your teeth will look horrible when you get your braces off. It’s not hard to stop drinking it, get over yourself. You can easily buy special floss for braces, it’s not hard. You are very stupid. Read what you have wrote, again and again. Just think, you idiot.

    • Taye Retter says:

      Don’t worry, I currently have braces and one thing your friend is wrong about… You may experience a soreness as you would with a bruise, but it is not a straight up pain unless you get hit in the mouth, play a wind instrument, or bite something hard.

    • allison says:

      Hello. 1.You can still drink pop just not repeatedly everyday as all the sugars can wear away the glue and could cause some minor or major heath problems regarding your teeth or braces in the future. 2. Gum is sticky so it may or may not get caught in your wires or brackets and could pop one offso its safe to just stay away from it. 3. be careful when playing sports and if you do play something like soccer ect.. then its best to let your orthodontist know so they can make you a mouth guard if they do that or u go buy one. 4.you can buy floss or threaders and anything u may need from a nearby rite aid or other store. 5.Set little reminders around your house not to eat or hard foods or just make your own section for yourself of foods you can eat. 6.you can eat candy like chocolate or anything that isnt hard or sticking. 7.if you have an over bite and you get braces when you get close to being ready to get them off you get elastics which will straighten that out and fix your bite. And i have braces and yes they are uncomfortable when you first get them on and tightend but its not as bad. just take pain meds when needed, and wires are activated by body eat or other heat so if your want to relive pressure and ease pain a bit drink or eat cold foods.

    • Braeden says:

      You can eat whatever you want. I had braces for about a year and a half and I eat just about every that I’m not supposed to. What I’m trying to say is that if your bracket comes off that easy then they didn’t do a great job on putting on your braces.

    • Braeden says:

      You can eat whatever you want. I have had braces for about a year and a half and I eat about everything that I’m not supposed to. What I’m trying to say is that if your bracket or wire breaks that easily then your orthodontist didn’t do a very great job.

    • Gabby says:

      wow. That was….wow. I’m 14 going to 15 this year and braces are not and AT ALL. I had well shaped teeth but a huge ass gap between my two front and lower teeth. The front gap was gone without two months. And I still have the lower one. And, like you, I like gum and soda. But I stay away from those, especially soda. I drank soda a lot and the glue for the bracket came off of my molar, now I have a metal ring around my tooth and cement on it too. Sure it sounds bad but it really isn’t. If you get bands, make sure to wear them. They’re really important. You’re like what, 10-12? Your friend is exaggerating. Just do what the dentist says and you’ll end up with a perfect smile. But please, DONT CHOOSE COLORED BRACES. My top row is clear and my bottom is normal silver. I see so many girls and guys with neon blue and green brackets and it’s so sad…don’t make a decision you’ll end up regretting. Also, braces do take a long time. They aren’t quick, even if your teeth are good.

      Enjoy your new smile.

      • genius says:

        k ur literally 14 so don’t act like you know shit lol… why do you care if people have coloured brackets? no one ever regrets it because you legit change it every month?? clearly, you don’t know the first thing about braces…

        • Guy says:

          Coloured braces stick out and ruin the smile aesthetic. Thought that’s just my personal opinion BUT I’ve heard from people who DO get colored braces, that they don’t like them because of how they stand out whereas silver and clear blend.

          they don’t *always* get changed monthly and even then it’s still a month with a really prominent metal smile which is really difficult if you have bad anxiety.

          Also, their age doesn’t matter, if they’ve had braces and had the experience they have every right to comment and it be valid… as they’ve literally lived through it

          • Anne (not of Green Gables) says:

            I definitely avoided getting a neon color. If you’re a person like me who loves colors, get pastels! You actually won’t notice all that much, and believe it or not, they actually look… cute! I have pastel pink and blue, and they aren’t noticeable, but again, if you love colors, they definitely satisfy that need for color.

        • jessica rutherford says:

          Don’t be so rude just because you are 14 doesn’t mean that you don’t know shit

          • donkey bro says:

            How is she being rude, she literally said “enjoy your new smile? You’re the one being rude so shush your comment adds no meaning to the conversation.

    • Abdalkareem says:

      I love gums and hard candy but I have braces

    • Alden says:

      Braces are not a bad thing it’s almost like a diet to stay away from junk food and I heard it’s worth the wait because I have braces and I have to wear them for 2 years!. Getting them tightened hurts and may feel uncomfortable but it’s the only way to straighten your teeth so there’s really nothing to worry about

    • nikki says:

      things like carbonated drinks, candy, gum, etc, all has sugar in it. sugar is like a acid, it can eat away the glue that holds ur braces together over time. regarding to things like gum and chips, it’s best not to eat gum because it’s sticky and can get stuck in the braces. for chips, don’t eat very crunchy chips, for chips like lays it’s thinner which makes it easier to chew, those might be ok, but thicker, and crunchier chips can crack your braces.

    • Just me says:

      Ok, let’s get this straight. Braces do hurt, I wish I can tell you they don’t; but they do hurt. So your friends are right about that. They hurt for about a week after you first get them on, and hurt for about 2 days, when you get them tightened. I’ve had braces for about a year now. I love gum and soda, but it wasn’t that hard to stop eating/drinking those things. You know what helped me? Look at a picture of a person who ate candy and drink soda while wearing braces. It’s horrible, I don’t want to have my teeth looking like that. If/when you get them, do everything they tell you to do, they know what they’re talking about. It’s fine to be nervous, but sooner or later you’re going to have to woman up. Just do everything, they tell you and you’ll be find. Also, when a bracket breaks, call right away. Unless, you want to expand your treatment.

    • Who do you think you are ? says:

      Ms.Gurl chill you’re overreacting you can eat whatever you want you just need to be careful and no offense but you seem like an annoying person but anyways just read the other comments to help you

    • Road says:

      There are lots of reasons to get braces. Here are five of them. 1. Braces pay your orthodontist’s mortgage. 2. Braces pay for your orthodontist’s children’s college tuition. 3. The more kids your orthodontist puts on the bigger his retirement account will be. 4. No matter what goes wrong, the dentist or orthodontist will blame you – so it’s never their fault. 5. The dentist wants to take his wife to Paris on vacation and she wants to fly first class – so, get the braces and be quiet about it. Of course, you could just say “no” and refuse to open your mouth and problem solved.

    • Emil says:

      Soda can damage the teeth and get in places you can’t reach with the tooth brush. Gum is the same and can cause problems with the braces themselves.
      Trying not to get hit in the face is a funny one.
      A floss literally costs nothing. Not having one means you didn’t want to buy one.
      If you can’t remember 3-4 things not to do, then i question how you are still not in jail.
      Braces ‘hurt’ when they are adjusted for a bit until your teeth get used to them. It’s a necessary ‘sacrifice’ if you don’t want to lose your teeth at 35.

    • David says:

      I hate braces too!!!!! My parents forced me to get braces when I was in my early teens it was the worst time of my life as it damaged my relationship with my parents as I ended up fighting with them for years and not following what the orthodontist told me. To cap it all off when I thought it was finished then came the now you have to wear a retainer which made me hate them even more eventually I left school as it was the only way for me not to wear the retainers again which I haven’t. I’ve suffered from depression as a result of this n not one apology from my parents my mum passed away back in 2013

  2. Rania says:

    I tend to grind my teeth a lot ever since I got braces, is this a bad thing?

    • Danielle says:

      Me too and I chew gum… oops I know it’s bad but I have has my braces on for 3 and a half years now. And all I’m saying is that it sucks when having bands in they hurtttt so bad but they said that if I don’t wear my bands one day my teeth can start to move in the ways they shouldn’t be and I’m like… bruh. ?

      • Anne (not of Green Gables) says:

        I think it really just depends on where you go. Some orthodontists (like mine) allow me to chew gum, knowing that it’s a habit of mine when I do homework, and as long as I’m careful they’re fine with it.

    • Someone says:

      Yes. It can make your teeth get more loosen and cause you to have your braces on more longer. Also, no need to thank me i am getting braces again for the 3 time so just a tip.;)

  3. Cheyenne says:

    I just got braces yesterday and I started clenching my teeth and pushing my tounge and lips against my teeth to sorta ease the pain I guess but the more I do it the more it hurts.

  4. Julia says:

    What if I chew candy like skittles at the front of my mouth? Would that be okay?

    • A Person says:

      You still are damaging your braces.
      Think of this questionnaire every time you want to eat candy or sweets.
      If you get a yes, then you cannot eat it. If you say no, move on to the next question.

      Is it sticky?

      Does it have caramel or gooey sweets?

      Does it have gum?

      If it is hard, will you bite it?

      If all answers no, eat it.

    • Skye The Bitch says:

      When a person says no sugar or candy that means no sugar or candy PERIOD.

      • Anne (not of Green Gables) says:

        Take a chill pill, my dude… Some candies are okay. I was one of the unlucky ones who got braces on less than a week before Halloween. I eat chocolate, and that’s okay. You just have to be cautious is all. 🙂

  5. Maura Hill says:

    I have an overbite and I tend to accidentally chomp down on my front buck teeth ever since I got braces, this is my first month too!! My front left buck tooth is somewhat wiggly and I’m worried because of how I don’t have control over it. It just randomly happens and it really hurts. Anybody have experience with this, please tell me how it went with you.

    • Jules says:

      I did at first, but eventually it stopped. I think the pain made me more conscious of what was happening. It still happens occasion, but not as much.

  6. Marie says:

    Hello I broke one bracket on my front teeth and the other tooth next to it is not broken but its more advanced then the one that broke. So it my braces journey messed or can it be fixed to be at the same level as the tooth where the brakes isn’t broken?And I’m not that far into the process because I have these braces for a month now

    • Anne (not of Green Gables) says:

      Heya! No, if something breaks, you’re all good, no matter where you are in the process. I highly suggest you call your office and let them know, and they’ll be happy to fix it for you! In fact, they just want to help! I remember getting mine on, and the day afterward I got a call from my orthodontist making sure everything was okay. I hope for the best for you!

  7. Tamara says:

    Hi i have a question i just got braces l( like 3 days ago ) and i got hit in the mouth twice can that affect the braces or my teeth???? and also I didn’t floss my teeth ether but I brush my teeth well do I still need to floss

    • Cass987 says:

      Yes Tamara please floss and brush ur teeth like 3 times a day .. every time u eat u should brush the braces and remove food

    • nikki says:

      u need to floss ur teeth on a daily basis, not flossing causes plaque to build up in between ur teeth which is going to make ur braces experience much more painful and expensive. flossing may hurt for the first week or so, but that perfectly normal, the wires are pulling ur teeth together so there’s going to be a lot of pressure on it, it’s extremely hard to chew and eat during the first week or so but it’ll get easier later on.

  8. Sam says:

    I got braces a few hours ago had I pushed on one of the metal individual things on one of my teeth. Now that tooth hurts. Is this normal? How long will it last and how do I make it stop? I won’t do it again it seems stupid thinking about it. Also my orthodontist asked me what colour bands I want but I don’t know what they do or where they are. I ate a burger and it wasn’t that bad I just brushed after to get the bits out and ate slowly. What do and don’t I do now I have them

    • Courtney says:

      I don’t think that pushing the brackets will do anything, but I’m obviously not a professional dental surgeon or something, so I recommend contacting your orthodontist. Also, if you are having a band on each bracket, I’m sure they are there to keep the bracket closed as they opened it to put the wires in. If you are talking about the bands that connect parts of brackets on top teeth to brackets on bottom teeth, they are there to help the jaw get into proper position if it is misaligned. Hope this helps!

    • Mad Dog says:

      Hi I wanted to tell you guys a tip. The next time you get your braces on don’t eat any solids. Yes like a cheese burger. I have done this many times and regretted it the next morning. I suggest going to get chili, soup , yogurt and Mac and cheese. These foods won’t bother you the 1-4 days then go out and get you a yummy cheese burger or two. It’s almost like a gift for not making your braces hurt super bad. Sorry for the bad news.

  9. Ariel says:

    hi i just got my braces tightened and i went to eat burger. After that my teeth feels painful. Is it normal for it to be painful, and is it gonna lead to any unwanted problems?

    • Anne (not of Green Gables) says:

      It shouldn’t. Your teeth will be sore, no matter what to be completely honest. I think you’re all good, but I would give your orthodontist a call just to be sure. 🙂

  10. Mad Dog says:

    If you eat cheeseburgers or anything like that after you get work done on them it will make you braces super sore the next day. Oh tip I did this last night if your going to eat cereal let it get soggier then you would usually or you might be sore tomorrow as well. If you just got them on the first two months might be mainly yogurt and soup + ice cream! But after that the after about the fourth day go get a cheese burger. If your mouth continues to hurt put a hot compress on it or a hot rag it helps a lot

  11. Alaia says:

    Can u eat takis and Hot cheetos it’s just that I’m Giving my friend a gift and Idk if that’s okay to eat when she has braces sooooo… pls. Someone?. HELP! 🙁

  12. Treyton Hendrix says:

    Just you you know, I have braces and I do these things all the time, especially chew gum and eat candy.

    (P.S Grammarly saves my life lol)

  13. Davis says:

    Hi, is it too late to start flossing with braces on? I didn’t know that it was so important but I have had my braces on for about 13 months and I am expected to have them for 18. Also, is a waterpik a good substitute for floss?

  14. Emily says:

    Thank goodness I only play the piano and not a wind instrument

  15. Leah says:

    Thanks for the advice! I’m get braces in two days. I’m really nervous does it hurt to get them put on? Am I brushing my teeth enough? If you can answer my hand full of questions ? That would make me feel a lot better! Thanks


    • Gracelynn says:

      Hi Leah,

      I just got my braces a few hours ago, so I don’t know everything about them yet, but it doesn’t hurt at all to have them put on. I’ve heard when you get them tightened it can be sore but it’s not that bad. As for brushing your teeth, you shouldn’t really have to change how often you do it, but you should make sure you are getting every bracket individually for about ten seconds each time you brush your teeth to make sure you get them all.


  16. Steve says:

    What happens when we chew on only one side of mouth during braces treatment?

  17. Dallas says:

    If you make your process of having braces on longer does it cost more money

  18. Amy says:

    Damn I have braces and I’ve been eating gum and it never ever got stuck on my braces or something like that

    • Amy says:

      And also I got hit in the face with a soccer ball and it hurt so bad I swear my teeth and lips kept on bleeding and won’t stop

      • killua says:

        It’s not even that bad to have braces. Yes, it does hurt when you get them at first but it only lasts for a couple of days and then later on you get use to them and don’t feel a thing. Now about the sugar/candy situation you should listen to your orthodontist obviously but yeah there isn’t much too it tbh I eat lots of snacks and candy while having braces and I’ve never had a problem. Again this is just my personal experience. So don’t go quoting me on it LMFAO. << now about the color it’s literally your personal choice whether you want bright, pastel or no colors at all that’s totally fine. You should do whatever you feel comfortable with doing. They are your teeth after all so yeah k bye now.

  19. JR says:

    I just had braces put on. Had them before along time ago. When I ate some chili it felt as tho I was only biting on 1 corner of both sides of molar instead of using your whole molar. Does anyone feel that? No pain but just worried about wearing down my molars?

  20. bri is nuts says:

    i dont have braces but,WHY AND WE CHEW ICE I DO IT 20 4 7 AND GUM!!! i cant wear braces,PAIN

    • aa says:

      chill, from just my experience chewing ice can seriously harm your teeth and braces. with gum, i don’t recommend chewing it because there’s a good chance it’ll get stuck.

  21. . says:

    Dude you sound like a overprotective parent. What the heck are we going to eat? The only stuff we could eat are vegetables, rice and that’s it. even fruits have sugar.

  22. My brother has had braces before he said it hurt for like three days and when it gets tightend it only hurt for like a day and than it was fine he did bleed from time to time to other than that he was fine

  23. Kat says:

    Bruh my orthodontist gave me gum what a load of bull it don’t sick to ur teeth unless you purposely stick it to ur bracket.

  24. Jelly says:

    How can you chew with braces on? Can someone please respond. Thank you! ?

    • Gracelynn says:

      Hi, chewing with braces can feel weird at first but in about 2-4 days it will start to feel normal again. If you have rubber bands, make sure you take those out before you eat too.


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