What candy can people with braces not eat?

Having braces can be difficult when it comes to eating certain foods. Candy, in particular, can get stuck in braces and is often discouraged by orthodontists. However, not all candy is off limits for brace wearers. Here is a look at what candy should be avoided and which is still okay in moderation when you have braces.

Hard Candy

Hard candy, including lollipops, suckers, Jolly Ranchers, and candy canes, are typically not recommended for people with braces. The hard texture of these candies can damage braces brackets and wires. Hard candy can also easily become lodged in braces and is difficult to dislodge.

Sticky Candy

Sticky candies like caramels, gummies, and taffy have a gummy sticky texture that can adhere to braces brackets and wires. This can bend or damage braces and lead to broken wires or loose brackets that require repair. Even after the candy dissolves, the sticky sugar residue left behind promotes bacteria growth and tooth decay.

Chewy Candy

Chewy candies like Skittles, Starburst, pixie sticks, and candy necklaces tend to get embedded in braces brackets and wires as you chew them. Their chewy texture also causes them to stick around longer in the mouth rather than dissolving quickly. This prolongs their contact with braces and increases chances of damage.

Crunchy Candy

Crunchy candy with hard brittle textures like Jolly Ranchers, lollipops, peppermints, and candy canes can fracture a bracket or bend the wires of braces. Their crunchy texture requires more jaw pressure when chewing which can stress and damage braces.

Chocolate Candy

Chocolates can be consumed in moderation with braces if they are smooth and soft. However, crunchy chocolate candies with nuts, caramel, crisped rice or hard cookies inside should be avoided. The crunchy fillings and bits can wedge into braces and damage the wires or brackets.

Candy with Nuts and Seeds

Candy with nuts, seeds, coconut, popcorn or hard bits like peanut brittle, trail mixes, sesame snaps, and nutrition bars can easily damage braces through cracks in the nuts and seeds lodging into brackets and wires. These particles also tend to get stuck in braces.

Fruit Snacks

Fruit snacks like fruit rolls, gummies, chews, leathers, and fruit snacks shaped like candy are usually discouraged with braces. Even though they are made from fruit, their chewy or sticky texture allows them to adhere to braces and potentially bend or dislodge wires.

Hard Pretzels or Chips

Though not technically candy, hard pretzels, chips or crispy snack foods with hard brittle textures can fracture brackets or wires just like crunchy candy. It’s best to avoid these foods or break them into small pieces before chewing with braces.

Braces-Friendly Candy

Though many candies should be avoided with braces, there are still some candy options that are braces-friendly. Here are some of the best candy choices for people wearing braces:

  • Dark chocolate – Braces-safe if smooth and soft without crunchy fillings
  • Milk chocolate – Also braces-friendly if sufficiently smooth and soft
  • Plain M&Ms – Avoid crunchy candy coatings that can stick to braces
  • Reese’s Peanut Butter cups – As long as you avoid crunching the outer candy shells
  • Twizzlers – Chewy texture doesn’t stick to braces like caramels or gumdrops
  • Swedish Fish – Smooth, soft texture stays out of braces
  • Skittles – Avoid chewing and stick to sucking on the smooth candy shells
  • Jelly beans – Easy to chew into a smooth consistency
  • Gummy bears – Chew thoroughly until completely smooth before swallowing
  • Cotton candy – Melts instantly, reducing contact time with braces
  • Popsicles – Keeps mouth hydrated and rinses away debris

Tips for Consuming Candy With Braces

If you do choose to eat any of these braces-approved candies, keep these tips in mind:

  • Consume candy at the end of a meal
  • Brush and floss after eating candy to remove any lingering debris
  • Rinse with water to help dissolve sugar and dislodge candy from braces
  • Avoid chewing hard candies and suck on them instead to dissolve
  • Cut larger candies into smaller pieces to minimize time in the mouth
  • Avoid candies that combine sticky and crunchy textures
  • Notify your orthodontist immediately if damage to braces occurs

Most Damaging Candies for Braces

While no candies are great for your oral health, the following popular candies are among the worst for people with braces:

Candy Why It’s a Problem
Pop Rocks Explosive texture places extreme pressure on braces
Jawbreakers Very large size and hard texture require forceful chewing
Bubble gum Gets stuck in braces and is difficult to fully remove
Tootsie Rolls Sticky chewy texture adheres to braces
Caramel apples Combines sticky caramel with crunchy nuts and brittle apple
Sour Patch Kids Sticks to braces and tart citric acid erodes tooth enamel
Taffy Gets tangled around wires causing breakage
Licorice Sticky texture clings to braces for extended periods

Healthier Candy Alternatives

If you have a sweet tooth, consider these healthier candy alternatives that are braces-friendly:

  • Sugar-free gum – Chew carefully and remove before sticking occurs
  • Popsicles and ice cream – Choose products without nuts or crunchy bits
  • Smoothies – Blend soft fruits like bananas into smooth, easy-to-drink treats
  • Yogurt with fruit – Provides protein and won’t damage braces
  • Applesauce cups – Convenient soft snacks that rinse away easily
  • Cottage cheese with pineapple – Avoids hard chunks that get stuck
  • Pudding cups – Look for smooth, sugar-free varieties without seeds
  • Frozen yogurt bites – Choose soft yogurt without hard toppings
  • Graham crackers – Avoid chewing too hard or crunching them

Preventing Braces Damage From Candy

Here are some tips to keep your braces protected and prevent broken wires, loose brackets and enamel damage when consuming candy:

  • Avoid all hard, crunchy, sticky and chewy candies
  • Read ingredient labels and watch out for hidden crunchy items like nuts or rice crisps
  • Consume small pieces of candy one at a time
  • Brush and rinse immediately after eating candy
  • Cut larger candies into smaller pieces before putting in mouth
  • Suck on smooth candies slowly instead of biting down
  • Avoid candies with acidic coatings that can erode tooth enamel
  • Stay away from candies that get stuck in braces like caramel or bubble gum
  • Wait until the end of a meal to have desserts or candy
  • Notify your orthodontist immediately if you damage braces while eating candy


Having braces limits some of your candy choices but doesn’t mean giving up sweets entirely. By sticking to smooth, soft candies that dissolve easily and avoiding crunchy, chewy or sticky candies that can adhere to braces, you can still incorporate some sweets safely. Pay close attention to how you eat candy with braces, cutting items into smaller pieces, chewing thoroughly before swallowing and brushing immediately after. If possible, consume candies at the end of a meal for less contact time with braces. With some thoughtful precautions, people with braces can still enjoy the occasional treat without damaging their orthodontic hardware.

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