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Can I Eat Granola With Braces?

Kristie Leong M.D. is a family practitioner who believes in the power of nutrition and a healthy lifestyle to prevent and fight illness.

Granola is a tasty breakfast cereal and snack that people eat at home, after exercise, while hiking, and on camping trips. You can add toasted granola to yogurt, sprinkle it on top of muesli, or eat it as a snack straight out of the packet.

But if you have metal braces, you must watch what you eat to avoid damaging the metal brackets and wires that comprise your braces.

Metal braces can change what you eat but it’s worth it if you end up with straight even teeth you can enjoy for a lifetime. Braces are made up of brackets attached to the front and back of each tooth, and wires that connect the brackets together.

The wires help move the teeth into place by placing pressure on the jaw. Although metal braces are strong and sturdy, the force of biting into or chewing a hard object can break, bend, or damage the metal.

Granola Is a Hard Food That Can Damage Metal Braces

Orthodontists recommend staying away from foods that are hard or sticky to avoid damaging braces. For example, eating nuts and seeds isn’t advisable if you have metal braces, as they are hard enough to damage the metal. Some nuts, such as pistachios are even firm enough to break natural teeth if you bite into an unusually hard one.

Most granola contains nuts and seeds, so orthodontists recommend avoiding granola or granola bars if you wear braces. Hard candies, sticky candy (like toffee), and gum due to its stickiness are also off limits. Even healthy foods like hard, raw vegetables, like a raw carrot, can damage metal braces if you bite into them wrong.

Granola Is Harmful to Teeth Due to Its High Sugar Content

Granola is often high in sugar. Although sugar won’t damage the metal in your mouth, it increases the risk of cavities. When you wear braces, the metal wires and brackets collect food debris and bacteria, which can cause decay.

Plus, braces take up more space in your mouth than natural teeth, so food can get trapped in them more easily. And if you don't brush after every meal, bacteria can build up quickly and make you more likely to get cavities.

To keep your teeth healthy during treatment, brush, and floss daily, and take good care of your oral hygiene. If you don't already have a routine for doing that, ask your orthodontist for tips on caring for your mouth while wearing braces.

Stick to Softer Foods That Won’t Stick to Metal Braces

The safest foods if you have metal braces are soft, non-sticky ones. Since granola is hard, it’s not a suitable food if you wear metal braces. Most people eat granola as a cereal. A safer substitute is to enjoy a softer cereal, like oatmeal.

Cooked oats are soft enough not to harm braces and it's healthier than most packaged cereal. If you eat hard cereal with braces, soak it in milk first to soften it up. It’s not just granola that’s off the menu if you have metal braces but all hard, crunchy cereals.

Take Care of Your Braces

Braces are there to help you get straighter teeth and a more beautiful smile. If you harm them, an orthodontist will have to repair the damage and that can prolong your treatment. One of the best ways to do that is to watch what you eat–and that includes granola.

If you damage a bracket or wire, don’t ignore it, or try to repair it yourself. Make an appointment with your orthodontist immediately, so they can take a closer look and take the best course of action.

References

  • "What Can You Eat with Braces, and What Should You Avoid? - Healthline." 19 Sept. 2019, https://www.healthline.com/health/what-can-you-eat-with-braces.
  • "20 Foods to Avoid With Braces — And What You Can Eat Instead." 16 Feb. 2022, https://www.dentaly.org/us/adult-braces/foods-to-avoid-with-braces/.
  • "Sugars and dental caries - World Health Organization." 09 Nov. 2017, https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/sugars-and-dental-caries.
  • Gupta P, Gupta N, Pawar AP, Birajdar SS, Natt AS, Singh HP. Role of sugar and sugar substitutes in dental caries: a review. ISRN Dent. 2013 Dec 29;2013:519421. doi: 10.1155/2013/519421. PMID: 24490079; PMCID: PMC3893787.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.