Popcorn is a popular snack with a light, airy taste, and there are many different ways to make it. It can be made in the microwave, on the stove, in an air fryer, or in an air popper. Normally, popcorn is a great snack for just about anyone, but there are some exceptions.
When you have braces, it is recommended that you avoid eating popcorn. Popcorn with a full hull can harm your teeth, scrape your gums, and break your braces.
Why You Shouldn’t Eat Popcorn with Braces
The primary reason not to eat popcorn when you have braces is the hulls from the popped kernels. The hull is the leftover part of the seeds, and they get hard and stay in the kernels of popped corn after it is popped. The problem is that these hulls can get stuck between your braces and teeth, making removing them difficult.
Popcorn hulls are sharp around the edges, and they are difficult to see because they are usually transparent. When you have braces, you should not eat popcorn, and some types are worse than others. For example, caramel popcorn has caramel that is sticky and crunchy and can also get caught in your braces.
How to Remove Popcorn from Your Braces
If you have eaten popcorn and it’s got stuck in your braces, you can remove it using the same techniques used to remove popcorn from your teeth and gums.
Things to try include toothpicks, a water flosser, a soft toothbrush, or by simply pushing it out with your tongue.
Can People with Braces Eat Popcorn Without Hulls?
Some popcorn is hulless, which means it has very small or no hulls. No popcorn can be completely free of hulls, but some are made to minimize the hulls. People often want to know if they can eat this type of popcorn when they have braces.
There aren’t any studies on this question, and healthcare professionals disagree. Some say it is okay because it won’t get stuck in your braces, while others say you should avoid all popcorn. The best thing to do is ask your orthodontist and stick with whatever they recommend.
What to Eat Instead of Popcorn
You should choose a nutritious option to replace popcorn as your favorite snack when you have braces. You can find snacks that have fiber and healthy carbs, including whole grains. You can choose from the following foods for a healthy alternative:
- Cheese slices
- Carrot chips
- Veggie sticks
- Baked potato chips
- Soft baked muffins
- Soft crackers
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Soft pretzels
- Soft fruit slices
Any of these snacks are a great alternative to popcorn while you have braces. Once your braces are removed, you can return to eating this light, fluffy snack.
The Risks of Eating Popcorn with Braces
There are two primary risks to eating popcorn and other foods without braces.
First of all, you can damage your braces. If the popcorn hulls or other parts get stuck between your braces, you can break them when you bite down.
Another issue is that the risk of tooth decay is greater. The popcorn can get stuck in the braces, and this can lead to tooth decay.
If you eat popcorn with caramel or another sticky substance, it can be very hard to remove from your braces. If it gets between your braces and your teeth, it can also damage the enamel on your teeth. For these reasons, you should avoid eating popcorn of any kind while you are wearing braces.
Other Foods to Avoid When You Have Braces
In addition to popcorn, there are other foods that you need to avoid when you have braces. It is worthwhile to wait until your braces are off because you need to let them do their work. You will want to avoid any of the following:
- Sticky candy
- Acidic drinks
- Hard candy
- Chewy foods
- Sticky foods
- Hard foods
- Ice cubes
Sticky candy, or sticky popcorn, should not be eaten when you have braces. You should avoid caramel, gummy bears, and more. They can coat your teeth with sugar, and pulling off the braces is possible.
Acidic drinks are also a problem. This includes soda, sports drinks, energy drinks, and lemonade. Sometimes people who drink these types of drinks have white spots once the braces are removed because the enamel has been stripped.
Hard candy can break your braces and the wires. They also have sugar that can cause plaque around your braces. Chewy foods include bagels and other bread, and hard foods such as nuts and hard pretzels can bend the wires on your braces and break them.