What candy can you eat when you have braces?

Quick summary

When you have braces, you need to be careful about the candy you eat. Hard, sticky, and chewy candies can damage braces and get stuck in the wires and brackets. Some safer options include chocolate bars, gummi candy, licorice, lollipops, mints, and non-sticky caramels or toffees. Avoid caramel, taffy, jelly beans, gummy bears, popcorn, nuts, and anything with whole fruit or coconut. Pay attention to labels for ingredients that could harm braces like caramel, coconut, and nuts. With some precautions, you can still enjoy sweet treats in moderation.

What are braces and why do they limit your candy choices?

Braces are a dental appliance made of metal brackets and wires affixed to your teeth with adhesive. They apply pressure over time to straighten teeth and correct alignment and bite issues. Braces have come a long way in terms of comfort, but they still limit the foods you can eat safely. Certain sticky, hard, crunchy, or chewy foods can:

  • Damage or even break brackets and wires
  • Bend the wires, impacting how the braces straighten your teeth
  • Get stuck in brackets, leading to tooth decay around the brackets

Candy is a high-risk food category because so much of it is sticky, chewy, hard, or crunchy. Certain candies are so adherent they can even remove brackets completely. But with some smart precautions, those with braces can still enjoy treats in moderation. You just need to be choosy about the specific candies you select.

Candy to Avoid with Braces

Here are types of candy you’ll want to avoid or consume very carefully with braces:

Sticky and Chewy Candies

These are some of the highest-risk candies, as they can adhere to brackets for a prolonged time and dislodge wires:

  • Caramels
  • Gummy bears or other jelly-based gummies
  • Licorice
  • Marshmallows
  • Taffy
  • Tootsie Rolls

If you do eat sticky candy, rinse your mouth and brush soon after to dislodge it before it causes problems.

Hard Candies

Extremely hard candies like lollipops and jawbreakers can damage brackets and wires. Sucking on them applies concentrated force on a small area of your braces. So avoid anything too hard:

  • Jawbreakers
  • Candy canes
  • Lollipops
  • Hard butterscotch or peppermint disks
  • Reed diffusers

Crunchy and Crispy Candies

Crunchy, crispy, brittle candies that shatter easily can wreak havoc on your braces:

  • Popcorn and kettle corn
  • Peanut brittle
  • Potato chips or corn chips coated in candy
  • Rice crispy treats with hard toppings

The crunchy texture combined with the adhesive coatings can loosen or break brackets.

Candies with Nuts, Seeds, Coconut or Whole Fruit

Avoid candies with mix-ins that could also damage your braces:

  • Trail mixes with nuts, seeds, or dried fruit
  • Candy or caramel apples
  • Pralines with nuts
  • Nougat or other nut-filled bars
  • Candy bars with crispy wafers
  • Anything with coconut shavings

These additions act like hard particles that can crack brackets.

Safer Candy Options for Braces

While you need to avoid the riskiest candy textures, there are still plenty of sweet options those with braces can enjoy:

Plain Chocolate Bars

Look for bars without add-ins that make them crunchy. Milky Way, Hershey’s bars, Three Musketeers, as well as dark chocolate bars are low-risk. Just chew carefully with your back teeth and avoid biting into the chocolate.

Gummi Candy

Gummi candy like Swedish fish, sour gummies, or Gel Fruitice are soft enough not to damage braces. The gummi texture won’t stick excessively. Just limit portions to avoid too much clinging sugar. Rinse after eating.

Licorice, Twizzlers

Red vines and other soft, pliable licorice candies tend to be brace-friendly. The glycyrrhizic acid content may even help combat bacteria. But avoid black licorice, which is harder.

Lollipops and Hard Candy

Carefully sucking on a treat is better than chewing it. Small lollipops or mints that dissolve faster are ideal. Just avoid large lollipops you’ll be tempted to crunch or bite. Check labels and avoid any ultra-hard candies.

Non-Sticky Caramels or Toffee

Look for caramels described as “soft” or “non-sticky.” Some brands coat caramels in non-stick substances specifically to reduce adhesion. Toffees or soft caramel creams may also work. Just chew carefully with back teeth.

Candy Allowed with Braces?
Gummy bears No – sticky and chewy
Licorice whips Yes – soft and pliable
Hard fruit candies No – hard texture can damage braces
Chocolate covered raisins No – raisins could get stuck and cause decay
Non-sticky caramels Yes – with careful chewing on back teeth
Candy apples No – whole fruit and hard stick risk damage

Tips for Indulging Your Sweet Tooth with Braces

Here are some final tips to enjoy candy and other sweets more safely while wearing your braces:

  • Read labels to watch for sticky ingredients like caramel as well as nuts, seeds, coconut or whole dried fruit.
  • Consume sweets in moderation at the end of a meal.
  • Choose softer, smaller candies that dissolve quickly in the mouth.
  • Cut sticky or larger candies into small pieces to reduce adhesion.
  • Avoid hard toffees or brittles. Opt for soft, creamy versions.
  • Rinse your mouth thoroughly with water after consuming sweets.
  • Brush and floss after eating to clear any lingering bits of candy.
  • Avoid crunchy, crisp textures that could damage brackets.
  • See your orthodontist promptly if you have any issues with damaged braces.


Having braces limits some of your candy options, especially chewy, sticky, hard candies that could wreak havoc on your orthodontia. But you can still satisfy your sweet tooth by selecting safer candies like chocolate, licorice, gummis, lollipops, and soft caramels or toffees. Avoid anything crunchy, brittle, or with whole nuts or fruit. Read labels to watch for ingredients like caramel and nuts. With some care in your candy selections and proper oral hygiene after eating sweets, you can keep your braces intact and your teeth healthy while still enjoying the treats you love. Moderation and making smart choices are key when you have braces.

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