How to Eat With Braces: Foods to Eat and Foods to Avoid

You have probably heard horror stories from friends who had braces and had to visit the emergency dentist because they ate too much popcorn and broke their metal braces. Or something akin to that. 

Even though braces have become quite common nowadays and you see them everywhere, that doesn’t mean that everyone knows how to deal with them on a day-to-day basis. 

It’s particularly essential to adjust your diet to ensure optimal oral health and prevent any complications during treatment with braces. This also prevents damage to braces. 

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore how to eat with braces, including foods to enjoy and avoid. 

Foods to Enjoy with Braces

First, let’s start with the good news. These are all the foods you can enjoy with braces without worrying about a thing. 

Soft Fruits

Soft fruits are excellent choices for individuals with braces. Options like bananas, berries, melons, and peeled, seedless grapes are gentle on your braces and won’t pose a risk of damaging wires or brackets.

Cooked Vegetables

Steamed or cooked vegetables are braces-friendly alternatives to raw, crunchy veggies. Soft vegetables like mashed potatoes, cooked carrots, and spinach are nutritious options that won’t compromise your orthodontic appliances. 

Soft Dairy Products

Dairy products such as yogurt, pudding, and soft cheeses are easy on your braces and provide valuable calcium for your teeth. Opt for plain or flavored varieties without added nuts or granola, which could be problematic for braces wearers.

Lean Proteins

Soft, lean proteins like poultry, fish, and tofu are suitable for individuals with braces. Ensure that the meat is cooked to a tender consistency, making it easier to chew without causing strain on your braces. 

Soft Bread and Grains

Choose soft bread and grain options that are less likely to get stuck in your braces. Examples include soft tortillas, pancakes, muffins, and pasta. Avoid hard crusts or bread with seeds, as they can pose challenges for braces wearers.

Soup and Soft Foods

Soups, stews, and other soft, well-cooked dishes are braces-friendly and can provide a comforting option when you need a break from harder foods. Ensure that the temperature is suitable for consumption, allowing you to enjoy a variety of flavorful options.

Foods to Avoid with Braces

Now the bad news. There are certainly some foods you need to completely avoid when you have braces.

It’s not optional, mind you. It’s mandatory to avoid these.

Hard Candies

Hard candies, including lollipops and jawbreakers, pose a significant risk to braces. The hardness can damage brackets and wires, leading to the need for additional orthodontic adjustments. 

Nuts and Seeds

While nuts and seeds are nutritious, they are also hard and can be challenging to chew with braces. Opt for nut butters or incorporate them into softer foods, avoiding the risk of damaging your braces. 

Sticky Sweets

Sticky sweets like caramels, toffees, and gummies can adhere to braces and become challenging to remove. These sweets are best avoided to prevent potential complications and maintain good oral hygiene.

Hard and Crunchy Snacks

Snacks like popcorn, pretzels, and chips can be detrimental to braces. They have a tendency to get lodged in the braces or even break brackets. Choose softer alternatives to satisfy your snack cravings.

Chewy Foods

Chewy foods like bagels, tough meats, and certain breads can strain your braces and lead to discomfort. Opt for softer alternatives to reduce the risk of damage and ensure a smoother orthodontic experience. 

Corn on the Cob and Apples

While nutritious, biting directly into a whole apple or corn on the cob can pose a challenge for braces wearers. Cut these foods into smaller, more manageable pieces to enjoy them without risking damage to your braces.

If possible, avoid them entirely. This shouldn’t be such a detriment to your overall eating regimen. 

Braces-Friendly Eating Habits

Not only do you have to watch out for what kinds of food you eat, but you need to start following certain best practices when you are eating your meals. It’s not going to be forever, but for a little while, you need to follow the steps outlined below. 

P.S. This doesn’t apply to Invisalign, which can be removed when you eat. 

Cut Food Into Small Pieces

When consuming foods that might be a bit tougher, like meats or raw vegetables, cut them into smaller, bite-sized pieces. This minimizes the stress on your braces and makes chewing more manageable.

When you first get your braces, you are going to have to be extra cautious with this. It’s because you aren’t used to having metal implements in your mouth and you might forget that you have them there. 

Chew with Your Back Teeth

Train yourself to chew with your back teeth rather than your front teeth. This helps distribute the force more evenly and reduces the risk of damaging the brackets or wires. 

Use Caution with Sticky Foods

While some soft, sticky foods may seem harmless, they can be problematic for braces. Exercise caution with items like caramel, taffy, or chewing gum, as they can stick to the brackets and wires, leading to difficulties in cleaning and potential damage.

Stay Hydrated

Drinking water throughout the day is not only beneficial for your overall health but also helps keep your mouth clean. Considering most Americans are walking around in a state of dehydration, this is a good idea all around, not only for those folks with braces on. 

Swishing water around after meals can dislodge any food particles caught in your braces.

How To Eat With Braces – It Takes a Bit of Caution

Everything worthwhile takes a bit of sacrifice. And that’s very true for getting straight and aligned teeth using braces. Once you learn how to eat with braces, that is.

Damage to braces is quite common, especially if folks aren’t careful about what and how they eat. 

Eating with braces can be a fun adventure, truly. 

If you are located in Lynchburg, VA, consider Central Virginia Orthodontics for all your healthy smile needs. We have been providing the highest quality orthodontic care since 1999.

Set up a free consultation with our team today to see how braces can straighten your teeth.