Can I eat popcorn with braces?

Whether you are about to get braces or have been in treatment for a few months, knowing what foods you can and cannot eat will make your daily life much easier and more enjoyable.

Yes, you can eat popcorn with braces but eat hulless popcorn. The main reason to not eat regular popcorn kernels with braces is that you can crack or pop off a bracket or snap a wire, and hulls can get stuck in your gums while chewing the popcorn. 

Hulless popcorn is your best option for eating popcorn with your braces on until you get your braces taken off.

Can You Eat Hulless Popcorn While Wearing Braces?

Hulless popcorn is usually made from a smaller popcorn kernel. The hulls break into smaller pieces when the kernel pops and some argue that eating hulless popcorn is a safer alternative because there is less of a chance that it will get stuck between your braces.

There have been no clinical studies conducted to decide if hulless popcorn is safer to consume for people who wear braces. It is probably best to consult with your orthodontist before you consume popcorn.

Feel free to ask them about hulless kernels compared to normal kernels.  Hulless popcorn was not a staple in our house when I was a kid who wore braces so I do not have any firsthand experience.  These days, our family favors hulless popcorn.

Can You Eat Regular Popcorn with Braces?

Unpopped popcorn hulls are very tough, and biting on a popcorn kernel is strong enough to break a bracket or snap a wire.  One wrong bite can lead to a trip to the orthodontics office. 

Since we usually eat popcorn at night, you will have to wait until the next day to get it fixed, if they have space to fit you in as an emergency patient.

Additionally, popped hulls are small enough to become lodged between brackets or wires and your teeth.  The small pieces are hard to see and not easy to remove. 

If a hull or part of the kernel becomes lodged beneath your gums, it can cause gum tissue inflammation. Redness, pain, and swelling of the gums are all symptoms of inflammation.

Avoid sticky popcorn like caramel corn as it is much easier to get the caramel stuck in your braces and is harder to remove.

How Do You Get Stuck Popcorn Out of Your Braces?

If you choose to eat regular popcorn, here are a few tricks you can try to get the popcorn out of your teeth if it gets stuck. 

  • Put some lukewarm water in your mouth and hold it for about 30 seconds, then swish it around your mouth.  Spit out the water and repeat this two more times.  The purpose of this is to loosen the stuck piece naturally.
  • Rinse your toothbrush in warm water and then brush downwards as if wiping the piece off your tooth. Repeat this process several times to see if it produces any results.
  • Gently work a piece of floss up between your teeth, then pull the floss down and against the tooth, pressing towards the side where the piece is lodged.
  • Use a dental pick or flossers (with caution!) to gently loosen the piece and pull it out.
  • Use a Waterpik to flush out the piece of popcorn.
  • Use brush flossers to reach between the teeth or gums.
  • After you have tried any of these, make sure you rinse your mouth and brush your teeth to clean out your mouth.
  • If everything else fails, contact your orthodontist. If the hull is left for an extended period, it can promote bacterial growth and infection.

Tips For Eating Popcorn with Braces

Here are some tips to help you avoid a broken bracket or wire if you do eat popcorn. 

  • Eat hulless popcorn
  • Make sure to filter out the unpopped kernels.
  • Flavor your popcorn with seasoning instead of other toppings like caramel, nuts, seeds, or hard candies.
  • Chew slowly and carefully.

What Popcorn Snacks Can I Eat with Braces?

There is a new addition to the snack category called popcorn chips. They are popped yellow corn, so there are no hulls or hard kernels to get stuck in your braces. 

They are popped, not fried, so they have a softer crunch than potato chips.  There is a multitude of flavors like kettle or cheddar, so there will be a flavor for everyone. 

Other Snack Ideas Safe for Braces:

  • Chocolate Candy Bars (without nuts)
  • Ice Cream (without nuts or hard pieces)
  • Frozen Yogurt (without nuts or hard pieces)
  • Soft Cookies (without nuts)
  • Cheese Puff Chips (no hard chips)
  • Chocolate dipped fruit
  • Pudding or Jell-o
  • Cake (without nuts)
  • Brownies (without nuts)

At our house, we love our Yonanas machine.  It uses bananas as the base ingredient and turns it into soft-serve ice cream. 

We also add strawberries and other fruits to create a healthy snack food version. You can also go the other route, top it with chocolate and whipped cream, and it tastes like a banana split sundae. 

There are tons of recipes online at Try out the Cookie Dough or the Orange Whip Recipe.  Every now and then, we put them in an ice cream cone to enjoy.

Another junk food that is a hit are mug cakes, and of course, you can eat them with braces if you avoid any flavors with nuts.  They are quick and easy to make and we love to add whipped cream to ours.

You can also buy the brownie mug cakes and top them with the Yonanas, chocolate syrup, and whip cream to have a brownie sundae.  Just a thought.

In conclusion, your movie-watching routine eating popcorn (try hulless) does not need to end with braces but it would be optimal to try another snack and leave the popcorn alone for the next few years. 

We know not everyone follows the rules so be careful if you eat popcorn and maybe limit the frequency of consumption until you get your braces off.  There are plenty of alternative snack foods, so you do not have to feel deprived.  Good luck!

Learn More – Read These Articles:

Five Delicious Alternatives to Popcorn

What Animals Can Eat Popcorn?


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