What can I eat with braces?

Braces Maintenance:

What Can I Eat with Braces?

Eating can be one of life’s greatest pleasures! When you seek orthodontic treatment for yourself or your child, you likely are picturing the journey ahead. What will life be like during orthodontic treatment? Your goal is a beautiful smile and a healthy bite, but what will the days be like leading up to that accomplishment? Since eating is a regular part of life, a top question as you picture life with braces might be: “What can I eat with braces?” 

The great news is, your diet likely doesn’t have to change too much. While braces are delicate, they are also built to last for the duration of treatment, and most foods remain acceptable. You do want to pay attention to the list of things to avoid, though, as certain foods give traditional braces trouble—causing braces brackets to come loose and need repair, or leading to cleaning and oral hygiene issues. Let’s take a look at some foods to avoid with traditional braces. 

What Can I Eat with Braces?

Many foods are acceptable to eat, as you can take the time to clean brush, rinse, or floss after eating. Before you take that bite, though, ask yourself if it will damage the braces or be difficult to clean when you are done. 

Foods to avoid:

The general rule is that you should avoid anything hard—this texture can do a number on brackets and wires.

A few examples of foods that are too hard include: 

  • Hard candy
  • Ice
  • Nuts
  • Hard fruits or vegetables like carrots and apples
  • Crispy or hard pizza crust
  • Snack chips or pretzels


Sticky and dense foods can be difficult to clean. Food that without braces often requires flossing should be avoided—as pieces that can get lodged not only between your teeth, but between brackets and wires.

A few examples of foods that are difficult to clean include: 

  • Chewy candy like taffy or caramel
  • Popcorn
  • Bagels
  • Corn on the cob


Eating Tips with Braces

So, we get to the question: what can I eat with braces? Many foods do not fall into the above categories, leaving your diet intact. With a few small adjustments to your eating habits, you can transition easily into a healthy eating routine with braces! Here are a few habits that may help you take great care of your braces and teeth: 

  • Bite and chew with care. Especially when you first get braces, smaller bites and slower chewing can help you keep food to the sides of your mouth rather than making use of your front teeth. This can help protect your braces as you get used to eating and minimizing the pressure you put on braces.
  • Rinse often. Water can be your best friend when it comes to keeping your braces free of food debris! Drink water throughout the day, and rinse after meals. You can consider investing in a water flosser, which sprays water with pressure at your teeth for deep cleaning between wires, brackets, and between your teeth. 
  • Food for sore mouths. When you first get braces, or after adjustments, your teeth may be sore. This is a great time to stick to softer foods, like oatmeal, eggs, soups, pastas, yogurt, fish, and more. Or treat yourself to a post-braces shake or ice cream!  

Clear Aligners as an Alternative

If the above list sounds complicated—and you don’t like the answer to the question, What can I eat with braces—you may have an alternative. You may be able to achieve your orthodontic goals with clear aligners rather than traditional braces. Traditional braces are far more restrictive than clear aligners when it comes to maintenance and hygiene. One of the many benefits of clear aligners is that they are removable. Remove the clear aligners to eat, and then brush your teeth after a meal and return the aligners to your mouth. Avoid food restrictions all together with clear aligners!

It will be a journey, but with the right care and awareness, you can still eat well. And the end result of your beautiful smile and healthy bite will make it all worthwhile! 

Are you interested in getting your braces journey started?

Call us today to schedule your consultation! 

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