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Fall Foods to Avoid

fall treats to avoid with braces

Grayslake, Round Lake, IL – Today’s metal braces are strong and effective, but it is still important to take certain steps to avoid damaging the brackets and wires. And as the air turns cooler, certain foods go hand-in-hand with the crisp, fall weather, but some of these may spell danger for your braces.

“Certain foods just sort of scream Fall,” says Dr. Michael Stosich, an orthodontist serving Grayslake and Round Lake IL area. “Caramel and candied apples, popcorn, pecan pie, and Halloween candy will soon be found everywhere. While I want my patients to enjoy the season, it’s also important that they remember the types of foods to avoid and that they continue to work hard to take care of their braces.”

If you’re an orthodontic patient wearing bracket and wire braces, you’ve no doubt been told the types of foods to avoid. Anything too sticky, chewy, crunchy, or hard can damage your wires and brackets. But do you understand why you should avoid these foods?

Your brackets are attached to your teeth using a special bonding agent. Even though this bonding material is strong, your brackets can get loosened over time. Eating foods that your orthodontist told you not to eat is one of the main reasons why brackets become loose.

While this isn’t a braces emergency, it is important to schedule a visit with Dr. Stosich as soon as possible to get the bracket placed back in place. Without your brackets in their proper locations, your teeth won’t be able to move to their new locations.

Your braces work by exerting gentle but constant pressure on your teeth. The bracket itself doesn’t move the teeth, but it does serve an especially important purpose – it ensures the tooth it is attached to can be engaged by the archwire. The wire exerts the force necessary to guide the teeth, but it can only do that when it is properly attached to a bracket that is properly attached to a tooth.

The archwire is the piece of your braces that does the big work of shaping your smile, but it can’t do its job without the brackets. As your brackets engage the archwire, your teeth begin to move – your braces are actually working on a process called bone remodeling, where the teeth are loosened from the periodontal ligament and guided through the bone to their new locations.

The way it works is that the bone on one side of the tooth is being removed by cells in your blood called osteoclasts. Then, on the other side of your tooth, new bone is being created by cells called osteoblasts. The osteoclasts clear the way for the teeth to be guided through the bone, while the osteoblasts work to add new bone around the tooth.

It’s an intricate process that is dependent on all of the components of your braces to be in proper working order to complete. And that unfortunately means saying no to some of Fall’s most popular treats.

So, what are some of the biggest culprits to avoid this fall?

Candied/Caramel Apples

Regular whole apples are already on the list of foods to avoid and biting into a whole apple could pop off a bracket or bend a wire. So, taking that same food and dipping it in a hard or sticky sugar coating is definitely not the way to go.


Popcorn is a fun fall treat, especially at this time of year when curled up for a spooky movie. But, the hulls of popcorn can be damaging to braces, so it’s best to avoid it. This is especially true for coated popcorns, such as caramel corn and kettle corn.

Pumpkin Seeds

While you’re carving your pumpkins, you may be tempted to keep the seeds and roast them to enjoy as a snack later. While pumpkin seeds are loaded with great vitamins and minerals, they are also hard and chewy, which can damage your braces.

Pecan Pie

While many types of pies are okay to eat while in braces, pecan pie is always on the list to avoid. Pecans and other nuts are too hard and crunchy and could damage your wires or dislodge a bracket.

Turkey Legs

All meat can be eaten while in braces, but only if it is first removed from the bone and then cut into bite-sized, easy to manage pieces. Biting directly into a turkey leg or other meat could spell trouble for braces.

If you have any questions about whether a certain food or treat is okay to consume while in braces, your orthodontist is always ready to answer questions. Dr. Stosich and his team are here to help patients easily navigate life in braces, so don’t hesitate to ask any questions you may have.


  • Michael S. Stosich, DMD, MS, MS

    Dr. Michael Stosich is a board-certified orthodontist and the director of orthodontics at the University of Chicago Medicine. He is known for his extensive experience in leading clinical enterprises, publishing, and lecturing both in the U.S. and internationally. Dr. Stosich has expertise in starting, growing, and maintaining successful orthodontic practices, including those in pediatric dentistry, general dentistry, and multi-specialty clinics. He serves on the editorial board of several publications and has been involved in innovating patient care and education, focusing on the future of dental and orthodontic healthcare.

Stosich Consulting