Braces & sugar

How to Limit Sugar While You Have Braces

Getting braces is a super exciting event in your life, but you should make sure to be extra careful about the foods you’re eating while you have braces. Braces make cleaning your teeth a little more difficult than normal, so limiting your intake of sugar is crucial in maintaining great oral health.

Certain foods can damage your braces and others are more likely to get stuck in your brackets. What should your approach be on sugary foods in general? Regardless of whether or not you have braces, sugary foods should definitely be limited, but there is a bit more risk to eating them while you’re going through treatment.

Does Sugar Dissolve Braces Glue?

While consuming sugar while wearing braces can have a negative impact on your oral health, drinking sugary and carbonated beverages can damage the braces themselves.The acids in sugar and carbonation can dissolve the glue that holds your brackets to your teeth, making it much easier for them to come off. This means that your braces won’t be working as they need to, so you may have to go to the office to get readjustments more frequently and your orthodontic treatment will take longer. It’s best to avoid fizzy drinks like sodas, carbonated juices, and sparkling waters with added flavors. Just to grab plain water when you need a refreshing drink. 

Enamel Damage

We all know sugar is really not great for your teeth, but with braces, the stakes are much higher. When you eat sugary foods, it coats the enamel of your teeth. Normally, this is relatively easy to get off, but braces add a complication. There are brackets and wires that you now have to work around. Although you might brush very thoroughly, there’s still a chance you will miss some of the sugar that coated your teeth around your brackets. (We know, they’re difficult to brush around.) The sugar left on your teeth can (and will) damage your enamel. This damage to your enamel leads to tooth decay and even cavities. Obviously this is something that you should try to avoid at all costs.


If you’re going to eat sugary foods no matter what, or if you just want to indulge in a sugary treat every now and then, there are a few ways to reduce and prevent potential dental issues. Always be sure to clean your teeth very thoroughly after indulging in any kind of sweet treat (or any snack or meal). Rinsing with water after eating is a good way to help keep your teeth in tip-top shape as well. It doesn’t replace brushing, but it can help keep your teeth clean until you get a chance to brush.

Sugar and Invisalign 

While wearing Invisalign means not having to worry about some things you have to keep in mind when wearing traditional metal braces, it is still just as important to avoid sugar with clear aligner treatment. If you do find yourself eating sugary foods with Invisalign, you should brush your teeth or at least rinse out your mouth before putting your aligners back in. This way, you can avoid having harmful bacteria gather in your aligners and eventually your mouth, causing tooth decay and gum disease. Foods with extra added sugar can also stain your aligners. This makes your invisible orthodontic treatment way more visible.

Be Selective and Do Some Research

Some foods are sneaky and have more sugars in them than you might expect. Do some research on what kinds of foods have fewer sugars and which have more than you might expect. If you like to snack, making snacks in advance is a good way to help keep yourself from snacking on unhealthier options. Also, if you can, it’s smart to stock your fridge and pantry with primarily healthy, brace-friendly foods. You might think limiting sugar will be really difficult and affect your ability to eat tasty food, but there are plenty of delicious and healthy food options out there for you. If not for your oral health, do it for your physical health!

Sugary Foods to Avoid with Braces

While natural sugars exist in plenty of otherwise healthy food, it’s best to avoid any foods with added sugar. Check the nutrition label for the amount of added sugar for foods you may not even expect, such as chips or pasta sauce. It’s also best to avoid pretty much all types of candy, which not only can have excessive sugar but may also be too crunchy or sticky and can loosen the hardware on metal braces. Here are some typical foods to avoid:

  • Chocolate
  • Lollipops
  • Mints and Gum (even sugar free)
  • Soda
  • Sport Drinks
  • Caramel
  • Gummi Bears (and worms)
  • Skittles
  • Starbursts

Sugar-Free Alternatives 

Foods that are naturally sweetened are your best bet, so think fruit for when you’re wanting to grab something a bit sweet. If you’re really craving sugar, it’s fine to indulge from time to time in homemade treats. This way you know exactly how much sugar you’re consuming. For fresh baked goods, you can swap out the sugar in your favorite recipes with naturally sweet options like honey, applesauce, or maple syrup. Otherwise, dried fruit that isn’t too chewy, like raisins, cranberries, or figs are a delicious on-the-go treat. 

Limiting sugar sounds like a lot of work. In fact, braces in general sound like a lot of work, but they’re not. They require you to be more aware of the foods you’re consuming and the care you provide your teeth, but they help you to develop healthier oral routines and routines that are healthier for your whole body. Being very careful with your teeth while you have braces will ensure your teeth are bright and shiny when you finally get your braces off at the end of treatment. The better you take care of your teeth, the better they will look once the braces are removed.

At Milnor Orthodontics, our experts are here to help you achieve a priceless smile. Call our office at (970) 484-3214 or visit to learn more. We're located at 1103 S. Shields St. in Fort Collins, Colorado.