Candy is a sweet part of so many celebrations and holidays. Halloween, Easter, birthday parties and more.
Many people can just enjoy a bite of their favorite candy without a second thought. But if you’ve got braces, you might be wondering “What candy can I eat with braces?!”
Having braces can be a challenging adjustment for sure. But luckily there are plenty of candies that you can enjoy while wearing them.
With braces, some popular candy options you can enjoy include soft chocolate treats like Hershey Kisses, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, 3 Musketeers and Andes Mints cups.
You also need to know which ones could potentially get stuck in your teeth, cause damage to your braces, or other problems.
With braces, it’s best to avoid candy and sweets that are hard, sticky, gooey and chewy. This includes treats like gum, caramel, gummy bears, nuts and pretzels.
Keep reading below for lots more ideas about candy that you can enjoy and should avoid with braces.
If you have Invisalign, check out this article that covers What Can I Drink With Invisalign!?
We’re guessing you don’t want to wear your braces longer than necessary or take extra trips to the orthodontist. So it’s a good idea to follow some general rules when it comes to eating candy with braces.
Your orthodontist or dentist probably gave you some general guidelines about the types of candy that are safe to eat. The American Association of Orthodontists website is a good resource too about all things related to braces.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be health advice and does not replace the guidance of your orthodontist. Most candy has sugar. Sugar can give you cavities. Cavities are no good – especially with braces. Always check with your health care providers on what is best for you!
Here at Three Snackateers, we aren’t orthodontic experts. But we do love eating our snacks, sweets, treats and you guessed it, candy. (And yes, we brush our teeth a lot!)
We wanted to make sure you can get your candy fix in a safe way too. Don’t worry – there are plenty of sweet treats that are okay to enjoy!
To save you time, we did some research to come up with the …
ULTIMATE GUIDE TO CANDY YOU CAN EAT WITH BRACES
Let’s dive in and talk about some specific examples of candies that are safe to eat and ones to avoid.
Candy With Braces: Foods To AVOID
The types of candy you want to stay away from are sweets that are hard, sticky, gooey and chewy.
Candies like these can cause damage to your teeth and braces. These hard and sticky treats can get stuck in the brackets and wires in your braces. It could even cause the brackets to loosen, break or pop off.
Caramel is delicious, but also sticky and chewy, so best to avoid it.
This includes a regular piece of caramel (like a Brach’s caramel) and also candy bars that have really chewy, sticky caramel in them. Something with a small amount of very soft caramel such as a Milky Way is usually ok.
A Note On Caramel Apples
You should never bite into an apple with braces … especially if it’s covered in sticky, gooey caramel and hard nuts. Eek.
However, if you cut a regular apple (minus the caramel) into thin slices and are eat carefully, apples might be a treat you can safely enjoy with braces.
POPULAR HALLOWEEN CANDY TO AVOID WITH BRACES:
Skittles, Snickers, Jelly Beans, Starburst, Jolly Ranchers, M&Ms and other hard candies
2. Chewy Candy
Put down those Starburst! Lots of people hand out super chewy Halloween candy. So do your teeth a favor and pull all of these candies out of your Halloween bag and give them to your non-braces-wearing friends. Your mouth (and orthodontist) will thank you!
- Sour Patch
- Big Chewy Nerds
- Laffy Taffy
- Swedish Fish
- Mike & Ike
- Now & Later
- Milk Duds
- Tootsie Rolls
- Sugar Daddies
- Fruit Roll Ups
- Jelly Beans
- Gummy Bears
- Gum Drops
3. Hard Candy
Hard candy is a pretty broad category, but luckily it’s pretty easy to tell right away if something fits in this bucket.
Some examples of bracket-breaking hard candies to avoid are:
- Jolly Ranchers
- Butterscotch Discs
- Lemon Drops
- Jaw Breakers
- Sweet Tarts
- Lollipops and Suckers
- Candy Canes
- And those weird little hard candies that are wrapped to look like strawberries. Does anyone actually even like those?!
Some candy bars are pretty hard too. Avoid treats like Heath and Butterfingers that can really get packed into your teeth and braces.
Can I Eat Skittles and M&Ms With Braces?
There are a couple of sneaky hard candies that seem like they would be okay but actually are on many orthodontists’ naughty lists.
According to some experts, anything with a hard candy shell such as M&Ms, Skittles and Reese’s Pieces should be avoided. They say that little pieces of that shell can easily get stuck in or damage your braces.
However, other orthodontists give the all-clear to M&M’s and Reese’s Pieces if you are super careful. As the slogan goes “M&M’s melt in your mouth, not in your hand.” So it seems M&Ms might be ok since they do tend to soften quickly.
If you’d like our un-scientific opinion, we’d avoid the Skittles for sure. They are too chewy and sticky. But we think it’s worth asking your dentist about sneaking a few M&M’s and Reese’s Pieces!
4. Bubble Gum
This one is kind of a no-brainer. It’s sticky, chewy, gooey and often hard when you start chewing.
Some dentists say sugar-free gum is a safe option. As always, best to check with your orthodontist.
5. Popcorn, Chips & Pretzels
Popcorn gets stuck in your teeth even without braces, so definitely steer clear! Caramel corn, popcorn balls, and snack mixes that contain popcorn all fall into the ‘no’ category too. Crunchy chips and pretzels should also be avoided.
Try some puffcorn or an airy cheese puff instead.
You’ll want to avoid eating nuts or foods containing nuts too. Lots of candy bars have nuts so think twice before you take a bite.
Something like a Nut Roll is pretty obvious, but don’t forget about:
- Almond Joy
- Hershey Chocolate Bars with Nuts
- Peanut M&Ms
- Ferrero Rocher
- Mr. Goodbar
- Reese’s Nutrageous
7. Frozen or Refrigerated Candies
Some people enjoy putting candy in the freezer or fridge to make it extra crunchy. You guessed it – extra hard, frozen candy can damage or brackets and wires, so stick to soft chocolate!
Candy You CAN Eat With Braces
Enough dwelling on the candy that is not meant to be. Let’s get into the good stuff that you CAN eat with braces.
1. Chocolate and Candy Bars
Thankfully there are plenty of chocolate treats you can enjoy. As discussed above, you’ll want to look for chocolate bars that don’t have things in them like caramel, nuts, toffee, M&M’s or Reese’s Pieces.
America’s favorite candy, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, are some of the best Halloween candies to eat with braces!
I’ll bet you can find something in this list that sounds pretty tasty.
- Hershey’s Chocolate Bar – all varieties except with nuts
- Hershey’s Kisses – all varieties except with nuts
- Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
- Reese’s Sticks
- Kit Kat bars – be careful with any ‘Chunky’ varieties as they have a thick layer of hard chocolate on the outside
- 3 Musketeers
- Peppermint Patties
- White Chocolate Bars
- Junior Mints
- Cadbury Eggs – just don’t bite into the chocolate with your front teeth. Break into pieces first.
- Andes Chocolates
The following treats are typically okay to eat with braces, just be careful and proceed with caution.
- M&M’s and Reese’s Pieces – as mentioned above, these isn’t a clear consensus on whether or not these are okay. Some say yes and some say no. So definitely worth checking with your orthodontist to see if you can safely enjoy these.
- Nestle Crunch – depsite the ‘crunch’ in the name, the soft puffed rice is generally braces-friendly
- MilkyWay – has a very soft caramel, so typically is okay
- Twix – the soft caramel is probably okay, just be careful with the crunchy cookie part
PRO TIP: When enjoying chocolate bars, don’t bite with your front teeth. To avoid damage to your braces, allow the chocolate to melt in your mouth or chew a small piece with your back teeth.
If you’re looking for a straight-up sugar rush, here are a few braces-friendly options for you.
- Pixy Stix
- Cotton Candy
- Pop Rocks
- Butter Mints
- Fun Dip (don’t bite the stick!)
- Ring Pop (no biting!)
3. Cookies, Wafers & Brownies
While not technically candy, goodies like cookies, wafers and brownies are a good choice for a sweet treat. And thanks to individual-size packs, many people give these out for Halloween treats too.
To be on the safe side, opt for softer cookies if you can. Also be on the lookout for added nuts, toffee, and sticky caramel that could hurt your teeth or braces.
If you’re really craving a harder cookie like an Oreo, why not give it a good dunk in a glass of milk?Yum!
Marshmallows are chewy, but they are also soft and not gooey, so they are generally on the ‘okay to eat’ list. This includes yummy treats like:
- Stuffed Puffs (these are marshmallows with a soft chocolate center – yum!)
- Tuck-ins (these are marshmallows on a stick!)
5. Pudding and Jello Cups
Pudding and jello cups are quick, easy and safe foods to enjoy with braces. There are tons of different flavors so you’ll have plenty of options to keep things interesting.
Just be on the lookout for some of the new pudding options that have mix-ins like Oreos, Butterfingers or M&Ms. Those hard cookies and candies should be avoided.
Hopefully, this comprehensive list gives you some great ideas on how you can enjoy candy with braces!
From Peanut Butter Cups to Kit Kat bars to Hershey’s Kisses and Peppermint Patties, there are plenty of delicious candies to choose from.
And always remember … you can eat candy, but be careful, brush your teeth and listen to your orthodontist!
Micky Reed, a two-decade veteran in the food and baking industry, leverages her influential Three Snackateers food blog and Instagram presence to collaborate with industry giants like Ben & Jerry's and Crumbl Cookies. Her work has been featured on Delish, PopSugar and more. Her expertise as a product curator for one of the world's largest international snack subscription box companies solidifies her status as a key player in the field.