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Maintaining Dental Braces

Getting braces will impact your lifestyle. With a little bit of effort, you can minimize the impact upon your life and get the most out of your smile investment. The following sections are designed to give you some basic information on how to adjust to your new orthodontic appliances as well as how to properly care for them and protect them from damage. As always, feel free to call our office at any time if you have questions.

Eating with Braces

Everyone at Cartwright Orthodontics wants your smile to be fantastic when your braces are removed.  With a little care and knowing what to avoid you can have that great smile! 

You will need to limit or steer clear of certain foods.  You can avoid problems while your braces are on by limiting sugar and sodas!  If you do eat or drink something high in sugar, rinse your mouth with water or better yet, brush after eating or drinking.  Sugar causes plaque to grow quickly which can cause swollen gums, decalcification and tooth decay.  Decalcification is plaque that damages, or eats away, the enamel on your teeth.  When your braces are removed your teeth could be discolored and unfortunately, it’s permanent.  

Next, you don’t want to eat foods that are sticky or chewy like gum, caramel, taffy, tootsie rolls, gummy bears and other similar candy.  They can pull brackets off the teeth and bend wires. Very hard foods such as ice, Jolly Ranchers and lollipops should be avoided completely, they break everything.  

Hard breads like bagels, hard, chewy pizza crust, tortilla chips, hard taco shells, thick hard pretzels, and kettle cooked potato chips can all wreak havoc on your appliances.  Please don’t eat popcorn, nuts and seeds, the pieces can get stuck in your appliances or break them.  

Hard fruits and vegetables should be cut into bite-sized pieces so you don’t just tear into them with your incisors, let your molars do the work for a while.  But please, keep eating your fruits and vegetables!  And remember, take small bites.

You can still eat things like ice cream, brownies; cookies, cake, French fries, burger, hotdogs, and pizza (just avoid the crust).

Below is a list of foods to avoid and foods you can eat.  If you are careful and practice good oral hygiene, you’ll achieve a great smile in the amount of time Dr. Cartwright estimated.

Foods to Avoid:

Instead of:

  • Hard pretzels
  • Hard taco shells
  • Dortios, Cheetos, Fritos
  • Popcorn
  • Carrot sticks
  • Apples, pears or peaches
  • Hard rolls, bagels or crust
  • Ribs, chicken wings or drumsticks
  • Corn on the cob


  • Soft pretzels or thin pretzel sticks
  • Soft tacos or burritos
  • Cheese puffs, cheeseballs, or potato chips
  • Hulless popcorn
  • Carrot curls or thin sticks
  • Cutting fruit into sections
  • Cutting or breaking bread into small pieces
  • Removing meat from the bone
  • Corn off the cob

Foods to Never Eat

  • ICE...a thousand times NO! It will totally destroy your braces.
  • SUCKERS or HARD CANDY...You might want to chew them.
  • PEN and PENCILS...Favorite exam time food, breaks everything.
  • GUM, CARAMEL or TAFFY...PEANUTS or any nuts...or anything HARD!

Bethel Park Office

Dr. Gary Cartwright, DMD
4880 Library Road
Bethel Park, PA 15102
(412) 833-6188

McMurray Office

Dr. Gary Cartwright, DMD
2000 Waterdam Plaza Drive, Suite 160
McMurray, PA 15317
(724) 942-5130

Complimentary Exam

Dr. Cartwright offers a complimentary consultation for children under 18 that consists of a panoramic x-ray, photographs, a thorough orthodontic examination and a discussion of potential treatment options.

4880 Library Road, Bethel Park, PA 15102 USA
Gary Cartwright, DMD Bethel Park, PA Orthodontist. (412) 833-6188
2000 Waterdam Plaza Drive, Suite 160, McMurray, PA 15317 USA
Gary Cartwright, DMD McMurray, PA Orthodontist (724) 942-5130