Getting orthodontic braces is a huge step in creating a beautiful healthier smile and solving all your dental problems. Your orthodontic treatment can range from one year to even 2 or 3 years, so it’s important to know what you can eat with braces on and what to avoid.
The main issue most orthodontic patients have is how to tweak their meals so that food doesn’t break the wires or gets the orthodontic brackets loose.
Don’t worry, you won’t eat mashed potatoes and baby food for 2 years. The main idea is to choose foods that will not get stuck to your archwires and won’t make your brackets pop out of your teeth.
Also, since brushing and flossing are a pain with braces on, stick to foods that will not make it a pain.
In our braces forum, some members asked what foods are the most harmful for their braces, here it is …
What can’t you eat with braces
In short, when in braces, stay away from chewing gum, ice, pizza crust / bread crust, raw apples and carrots, nuts and caramel.
It’s not quite a food on its own, since it lacks any nutritious qualities, but a lot of Americans love their chewing gum. Whether you are wearing Invisalign aligners or with traditional metal braces, chewing gum will get tangled in between the orthodontic appliances and ruin your treatment.
Do you like to cool down with it? Don’t.
Do not chew ice under any form, since it will crack the special dental cement that bonds your brackets to the teeth. It’s enemy no.1 when it comes to your braces, so avoid it.
Hard pizza crust or bread
You shouldn’t forgo a good bit of pizza or a delicious loaf of bread. But be careful with the hard crusts. One bite into this delicious, otherwise, part, and you can say good buy to your brackets.
Hard pretzels or bagels
The same as with the pizza crust. They can bend the wire and knock off the orthodontic brackets. If it makes a snap sound when bitten, try to avoid it.
Raw carrots and apples
Or any other veggie / fruit that’s harder to bite. It’s great that you want to keep up with your healthy diet, but a bite into these can make your brackets loose.
If you do want to stay on top of your nutrition, you can blend these into smoothies or puree them. It allows you to still eat a healthy meal and keep your braces on.
You can’t blend it, so that it’s not as dangerous anymore, so avoid it altogether. The shells can get between your teeth and the orthodontic wire and brackets. Your orthodontic appliance will get broken and you can also develop an infection, if the stuff gets under your gums and you can’t remove it with brushing / flossing.
The same goes for nuts, almonds and anything similar.
Avoid sweets as much as you can, during your orthodontic treatment. Your teeth are already sensitive because of the braces, your dental hygiene is also affected by all that hardware, so cavities can form easily.
Instead of having to repair your teeth during treatment (and pay more money for this), try to stay away.
Hard candy can also break your brackets cement and make them loose.
Corn on the cob
If you do love your corn, cut if off the cob and enjoy. Eating corn on the cob as it is, can damage your braces.
If it’s still on the bone, debone first, cut into small pieces and eat. Avoid gummy textures and hard meat. Even if you look like a baby chewing the small bits, you’d keep your braces safe.
Pens and pencils
You don’t eat them (hopefully), but you might chew on them when nervous. Try to curb your habit, since one bite is enough to knock your braces off.
Eating any of these foods can bend the wires and get your brackets loose, which can extend your orthodontic treatment even for months.
Foods You Can Eat with Braces
- Dairy products — soft cheese, puddings etc.
- Breads, pancakes, waffles, pizza (no hard crust)
- Pasta, soft cooked rice, mashed potatoes, creamy spinach, beans, peas
- Meats, as long as they are not too hard (or you have cut them into small pieces)
- Seafood, tuna, salmon, crab cakes
- Fruits (soft or pureed), ice cream, soft cakes, chocolate etc.
Frequently Asked Questions about Foods you Can and Can’t Eat With Braces
What candy can you eat with braces?
Since teeth with braces on are harder to properly clean (so, they are prone to cavities), try to eat candy every once in a while and stick to good quality candy, that’s not hard or sticky. You can safely eat chocolate (no caramel and nuts), peanut butter cups and softer cookies.
What can I eat with braces
You can eat a wide variety of foods with braces on, as long as they are not too hard (as to break the cement that “glues” your brackets on) or sticky. Use this time, during your orthodontic treatment, to find healthier options that give you the nutrients you need, without too much sugar and low quality ingredients.
Can you chew gum with braces
You can, if not sugary, but you shouldn’t. Chewing gum has absolutely no nutritional value for you and can get “tangled” up in your archwire and brackets. With some bad luck, you can pop them off.
Can you eat chips with braces
Chips are not nutritional food, so it’s not something you have to eat. And since they are hard, they can damage your orthodontic braces. Try to find other options and still enjoy a tasty snack.
Can you eat steak with braces
Yes. Cut it in small bits and carefully chew. Do not try to bite into it, as you used to, before getting braces. If you cut it in tiny pieces and are chewing with care, you can still enjoy a good steak, without messing up your treatment.
Can I eat pizza with braces?
Yes, avoid the hard crust and you should be fine. Same with bread and pastry.
Can I eat popcorn with braces?
No, the shells can get in between your brackets and archwire and possibly damage your gums. You’re surely suffering from canker sores from braces already, why put yourself through even more suffering?
Can I eat cereal with braces
Yes, as long as it’s soft. You can eat it with milk, for instance and, as long as it’s not hard, it’s still a good option.
Make sure you brush and floss carefully after eating, in order to keep your teeth clean and free from cavities.