Foods to Steer Clear of with a Permanent Retainer
Oral Health Blog

Foods to Steer Clear of with a Permanent Retainer


Maintaining a permanent retainer comes with dietary considerations, and using a suitable retainer cleaner is crucial in managing the associated challenges. Foods that can potentially damage a permanent retainer necessitate extra care. By incorporating regular cleaning, particularly with a retainer cleaner that is persulfate-free, you not only ensure the device's hygiene but also address the impact of certain foods on its longevity.

In this article, we'll explore the foods you should avoid with a permanent retainer and provide practical tips for retaining your dental health.

1. Chewy and Sticky Treats

Foods that are chewy or sticky, such as caramels, taffy, and chewing gum, should be consumed sparingly or avoided altogether. These can adhere to your permanent retainer wires and brackets, making cleaning difficult and increasing the risk of damage.

2. Hard and Crunchy Snacks

While crunchy snacks like popcorn, hard pretzels, and ice may be tempting, they can pose a risk to your retainer. Biting down on hard foods can lead to wire breakage or displacement of the retainer. Opt for softer alternatives to satisfy your cravings.

3. Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds are notorious for getting lodged in dental appliances. They can easily become trapped around your permanent retainer, making it challenging to clean thoroughly. If you can't resist them, consider opting for finely chopped or blended versions.

4. Tough Meats and Jerky

Tough meats and jerky require substantial chewing force, which can strain your retainer. Choose tender cuts of meat and avoid overly tough or dried meat products to prevent any retainer-related issues.

5. Corn on the Cob

Corn on the cob is a classic summer favorite, but it poses a risk to your retainer due to its fibrous and hard-to-navigate texture. Consider cutting the corn off the cob before enjoying it.

6. Whole Apples and Carrots

While apples and carrots are excellent for your overall health, they can be challenging to consume with a permanent retainer. To enjoy these crunchy snacks, slice or dice them into smaller, manageable pieces.

7. Hard Crusts and Breadsticks

Bread with hard crusts and breadsticks can exert undue pressure on your retainer wires. If you're indulging in these items, consider breaking them into smaller, bite-sized portions.

8. Corn Chips and Hard Tacos

Corn chips and hard tacos can be abrasive to your retainer and are best avoided. Opt for soft tortillas or enjoy your tacos in a bowl rather than with a hard shell.

9. Sticky Candies and Chewing Gum

Sticky candies, like gummy bears or toffees, and chewing gum can cling to your retainer, trapping sugar and promoting tooth decay. It's wise to eliminate these from your diet or consume them sparingly.

10. Carbonated Beverages

Carbonated drinks can erode tooth enamel over time, making them less than ideal for your dental health. If you choose to enjoy these beverages, use a straw to minimize contact with your teeth.


Maintaining a diet that's gentle on your permanent retainer is essential for preserving your beautiful smile and ensuring the longevity of your dental appliance. By avoiding chewy, sticky, hard, and crunchy foods, you can reduce the risk of retainer-related issues and continue to enjoy a healthy, aligned smile. Always remember to follow your orthodontist's advice and practice good oral hygiene for optimal results.

Are you currently using or thinking about using retainer cleaning tablets? It's important to be aware that certain cleaner brands have the potential to cause toxic reactions.

It's crucial to be aware of harmful ingredients hiding in common cleaner brands. One such persulfate, which can pose SERIOUS health risks and is found in almost all leading retainer cleaners brands. Moreover, persulfate's health risks potentially impact respiratory health and skin sensitivities in your family, especially in teens and sensitive individuals. Learn more about the risk of persulfate HERE.


The content in this article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult with a healthcare provider before making any changes to your health regimen. The author and publisher do not take responsibility for any consequences resulting from the information provided in this article.