Everyone loves popcorn, but it can be tricky to eat when you have braces. While it's a pretty healthy snack that can stay fresh for a while, those little kernels can get stuck in the wires and actually damage your braces.
Dentists and orthodontists often recommend avoiding popcorn when you wear braces because of this. We get this is hard to do since it’s such an irresistible snack.
But while it’s best to not eat popcorn during orthodontic treatment, eating it occasionally shouldn’t be too damaging in the long run. We’ll tell you all about why orthodontists advise against eating popcorn and how you can safely eat popcorn with braces on.
Why Orthodontists Want You to Avoid Eating Popcorn with Braces On
So you just got braces. There’s a good chance your orthodontist told you to avoid eating popcorn. Now how are you going to eat your favorite snack?
When you eat popcorn, it breaks into small pieces that can easily get caught in your braces’ wires. These small pieces can be tricky to remove and can lead to cavities, bad oral health, or even broken brackets.
Still, there’s no denying that the Oh Sooo Buttery popcorn waiting for you to make with your Popper can be hard to resist. If you can’t help but want some (no judgment here), eating it once in a while shouldn’t cause significant damage to your braces.
Just be sure to brush, floss, and see your dentist if you ever feel there’s a piece of popcorn stuck in your teeth that you can't remove. You can also try to stick to eating types of popcorn that are considered safer for braces.
You don’t have to completely avoid your favorite food.
Can You Eat Hulless Popcorn With Braces On?
Hulless popcorn may be safer to eat when you have braces. This type of popcorn is made from smaller kernels and has smaller hulls. The hull is the crunchy part of the popcorn that tends to flake off and get stuck in your teeth or gums. So the smaller the hull, the less likely it’ll get stuck in your braces.
Keep in mind that even popcorn labeled as “hulless” still has a small hull. You should still enjoy it in moderation. That being said, it’s one of the best types of popcorn to eat when you wear braces.
Best Practices for Eating Popcorn With Braces
If you just can’t give up your favorite popcorn snack, here are a few tips and tricks to help you. Follow these so you can keep eating popcorn safely:
While you should already be flossing at least once a day, you should also floss immediately after eating popcorn. This will help you remove any small pieces of popcorn from between your teeth and braces right away. Getting the popcorn hulls out from your teeth as soon as possible will help you maintain good oral health.
Avoid Unpopped Popcorn Kernels
Sometimes when you eat popcorn, you’ll find a bunch of unpopped or partially popped kernels at the bottom of the bag. You might already stay away from these, but since you're wearing braces, you want to be extra careful. The hard kernels can be damaging to your braces and might destroy the brackets.
Brush Your Teeth
After eating popcorn, brush your teeth. This goes for people with braces and without. It’s the best way to prevent tooth decay and also to get all those small pieces of popcorn out of your teeth.
Carry a small toothbrush in your purse or car so you’re ready to brush wherever you go. You can even buy disposable toothbrushes that come with a small tube of toothpaste — seems like a very easy solution to help you eat popcorn with braces.
Don’t Eat Popcorn Regularly
Enjoying popcorn in moderation is probably your best bet when you have braces on. Your orthodontist will likely agree. While movie theater popcorn can be tempting, practicing moderation will be best for your oral health.
Remember that your braces will come off eventually and you can go back to eating your favorite popcorn snack mix as often as you want.
Other Types of Foods You Should Avoid When You Have Braces
Eating with braces can be challenging. Besides popcorn, there are other things you should avoid eating to prevent damaging your teeth. Here are a few that dentists recommend staying away from:
- Hard candies
- Potato chips
- Hard veggies
- Chewing gum
- Corn on the cob
In general, stay away from overly chewy, gummy, sticky, or hard food. You should also avoid chewing with your front teeth or biting into things using the surface of your teeth.
So what can you eat? Here’s a quick look at food you can enjoy even with braces:
- Soft fruits
- Ice cream
- Mashed potatoes
Soft, tender foods are best when it comes to oral health.
Learn More About One of the Most Popular Snacks with Popsmith
We hope that sheds some light on whether you should or shouldn’t be eating popcorn with braces! While you can't eat it as often as you like, the good thing is you don't have to give it up completely.