More than 4 million people in the U.S. are fitted with braces each year. And 75% are children. With so many cereals aimed at younger consumers, parents may wonder if their kids’ favorite brands are still safe to eat after their braces are put on. So can you eat cereal with braces? Let’s find out.
If you — or your kids — have recently been fitted with braces, the good news is you don’t need to stop eating your favorite cereals. The best kinds to eat with braces are soft ones or those that become soft in milk.
These include Rice Krispies and Life cereal, or hot options like oatmeal. The best to avoid are hard or crunchy ones, such as Cap’n Crunch or Lucky Charms.
Here’s a closer look at which cereal brands are safer to eat with braces, and which ones dentists say you should steer clear of.
How cereal can affect braces
One of the biggest concerns with eating cereal while wearing braces is the potential damage it can cause. This is especially true for crunchy cereals. Chomping down on them could cause various components of your braces to bend or break.
That can limit the effectiveness of the braces and may even require a visit back to your orthodontist to correct them.
The best cereals for braces
So which cereals are good options to eat? Dentists say hot, soft cereals are an excellent choice, as they won’t take a heavy toll on your braces. Apart from oatmeal, these include cream of wheat, warm rice cereal, or other hot rolled oats or oat bran.
Popular cold cereals are also safe to eat, as long as you allow them to soften in milk for a few minutes. These include popular brands like Corn Flakes, Rice Krispies, Corn Chex, Life, and Cheerios.
It’s also a good idea to avoid sugary cereals. Those with high sugar levels can cause tooth decay during the orthodontic treatment, which can leave lasting tooth damage even after the braces are removed.
Can I eat Rice Krispies with braces?
Yes, Rice Krispies are a good choice of cereal if you have braces. While they’re crunchy when dry, the rice puffs will soften fairly quickly in milk. That means they likely won’t damage your braces if you soak them in milk for a few minutes.
Can I eat Life cereal with braces?
Life cereal is another good option if you’re wearing braces. This whole-grain cereal comes in a few different flavors including original, vanilla, and chocolate. You should be able to safely eat any of them while wearing braces as the flat, puffed cereal pieces will soften considerably in milk. Each flavor has similar sugar levels.
Can I eat Cheerios with braces?
This round cereal made from whole-grain oats is hard and crunchy when eaten dry, but it’s also safe to eat with braces after mixing it with milk. The best variety is original Cheerios as they don’t have as much sugar as other types like Honey Nut Cheerios.
Can I eat Corn Flakes or Frosted Flakes with braces?
Both Corn Flakes and Frosted Flakes are generally safe to eat while wearing braces. These flat cereals soften quickly in milk and shouldn’t cause any wear on your braces as you eat them. In terms of sugar content, Corn Flakes has about one-fourth the sugar per serving as Frosted Flakes.
Are crunchier cereals safe to eat with braces?
Dental professionals recommend avoiding crunchy breakfast cereals or other crunchy foods while wearing braces. Generally, these types of hard cereals are more difficult to chew and could put unnecessary pressure on your braces. That could bend or even break them.
Some cereal types to avoid include granola-based varieties or granola bars, ones with hard foods like nuts, or cereals with sticky foods like raisins, honey clusters, or marshmallows, as smaller pieces can get lodged in your braces.
Here are some specific cereal brands you may want to skip while wearing braces.
Can I eat Lucky Charms with braces?
This popular cereal is a favorite with kids, but there are a few reasons why Lucky Charms isn’t a good choice with braces.
The cereal itself can remain crunchy even after soaking in milk, which could damage your braces. Additionally, the colorful marshmallows can get stuck in your braces, also potentially harming them and your teeth. The cereal’s high sugar content, about 12 grams per serving, is also something that could negatively affect your teeth.
Can I eat Cinnamon Toast Crunch with braces?
A great way to tell if a cereal should be avoided while wearing braces is to simply check the name.
If the word “crunch” is in the name, it’s likely not a great cereal choice if you have braces. The flat cereal pieces of Cinnamon Toast Crunch will soften a bit in milk, but can still retain some of that crispiness they’re known for. Biting down too hard on them could damage your braces. This cereal also contains a fairly high level of sugar.
Can I eat Cap’n Crunch with braces?
This other popular cereal with “crunch” in its name could be bad for braces. The original form of the cereal contains crunchy bits of cereal that take a long time to soften in milk. And the “crunch berry” type has round cereal balls that remain crunchy even longer.
Can I eat Honey Bunches of Oats with braces?
This cereal isn’t a great option for those with braces, as the clumps of sticky oats can bend the braces and get lodged in them if chewed on too hard
Cereal and dental hygiene when wearing braces
Even if you’ve chosen a softer cereal, dentists recommend following a good oral hygiene regimen after eating it and other foods in order to maintain your oral health and take extra care of your braces. Here are some tips:
- Brush carefully with a soft toothbrush after eating to remove any stuck-on food items. Angle the toothbrush to get to any hard-to-reach areas along the braces.
- Rinse throughout the day to get rid of food particles that may collect in your braces after you eat.
- Floss regularly, at least once a day. The best way is to use floss wire to carefully get under the wires of the braces. And use a long section of floss to get to your back teeth.
- Use a water jet or oral irrigator to remove small pieces of stuck on food particles and plaque. The device uses a water jet with moderate pressure to dislodge food from teeth and braces.
- As with any food concerns, it’s a good idea to consult with your doctor or dentist for guidance on what may work best for you.
- Generally, if you’re one of the millions of Americans who wear braces and also love cereal, there’s no reason to stop eating it. The best option is to choose soft hot cereals or ones that soften in plain milk.
- To avoid damaging your braces, try to stay clear of ones that are hard and crunchy, those that have nuts (or nut-like cereals), and ones with sticky ingredients. And limit sugary foods as a general rule.
- If you do end up harming your braces while eating cereal, visit your orthodontist so they can repair any damage.
More food and braces answers
Looking for answers on what other foods are ok to have wearing braces? Check out these posts.