Have Braces? Here is What You Can and Can’t Eat

Knowing what foods you can and can't eat with your braces will help you achieve the optimum results during your orthodontic treatment

Have Braces? Here is What You Can and Can’t Eat
Have Braces? Here is What You Can and Can’t Eat

The best part of the holiday season is gathering around the dining table with the entire family and enjoy a delicious meal. It may seem impossible to enjoy the food if you have braces but you couldn’t be more wrong as living with braces isn’t difficult. It is true that you must avoid certain foods but you can still enjoy a healthy and tasty diet even if you have braces.

Why Is It Important To Eat The Right Foods?

Braces won’t be able to straighten crooked teeth effectively if you don’t take precautions and proper care after they are fitted. The biggest mistake people with braces make is eating the wrong food. Doing so will either break the wires and brackets or loosen them. You will have to make repeated trips to the orthodontist to get them fixed, resulting in an extended treatment time.

Moreover, sticky or sugary foods will attract bacteria and cause plaque. This will accelerate the tooth decay process and cause lasting damage to the teeth.

Which Foods Should I Avoid?

Some foods must be avoided as they can severely damage your braces. The wires can break or the brackets may loosen by excessively chewing the hard food. Sticky food can get stuck to the wires and tear them off the teeth. They are also likely to get stuck to the teeth, providing the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. They may also get trapped between the teeth, causing the plaque to build up, leading to tooth decay.

As long as you are undergoing orthodontic treatment with braces, you will have to make a few adjustments to your diet. Being cautious for a few months will ensure a safe treatment without any unnecessary delays.

Here are 10 foods that you must avoid when you have braces for teeth:

  • Sticky and Hard Sweets: Avoid toffee, lollipops and caramel that can pull the wires of the braces. Trying to chew hard foods may break the wires.
  • Chewing Gum: Stay away from chewing gum till you have braces, regardless of how much you like it. Once the chewing gum gets stuck to the braces, it can get really tricky to remove it.
  • Fizzy Drinks: Put away the fizzy and acidic drinks, including natural fruit juices. These drinks are not just high in sugar that can decay your teeth but they can also stain the braces.
  • Bony Meat: Avoid eating bony meat like chicken wings and spare ribs off the bone. Rather, remove the meat and cut them into small pieces. This way you can still enjoy the meat without hurting your braces.
  • Hard Foods: Love nuts, ice cubes, hard cookies or pretzels? Well, you may have to keep them at an arm’s length. Avoid hard rolls, croutons, crackers, hard taco shells, thin crust pizza, chips and hard candy too.
  • Corn on the Cob: Eating corn is on the cob is bad news for your braces. Remove the corn off the cob before you eat it to ensure that the braces don’t break.
  • Popcorn: Watching movies without popcorn can be bad but trying to remove the kernels from the teeth is a whole lot worse. Moreover, the kernels can be trickier to remove from the braces’ wires.
  • Raw and Whole Vegetables and Fruits: Don’t eat veggies and fruits like carrots or apples, especially when they are hard or raw. Cut them into smaller pieces and chew them with the back of your teeth instead of the front. You can even bake them to a softer consistency to enjoy them.
  • Chewy Foods: Beef jerky and dried fruits are not the foods to eat with braces. They will stick to the wires and pull them out. Moreover, chewy foods will also get stuck between the teeth.
  • Harder and Crusty Bread: Rolls, French bread, pizza crusts, and chewy bread like bagels must be avoided. If you are craving for some, just cut or tear the bread into small pieces before eating.

What Can I Eat With Braces?

It is important to avoid certain types of food but this doesn’t mean you have to make big dietary sacrifices. There are plenty of options that can make your breakfast, lunch and dinner exciting.

In the first few days after the braces are fitted, your teeth will feel tender. This will make it difficult and painful for you to consume hard foods. During these stages, it is important to stick to soft foods for safety and comfort. Eventually, you can start introducing slightly firmer foods in your diet.

Avoid foods that are high in sugar as your teeth are more susceptible to cavities with braces on. Incorporate foods that do not require excessive chewing.

Best soft foods for braces include:

  • Soft fruits: Grapes, bananas, melons, kiwi, strawberries, fruits without pits
  • Dairy foods: Soft cheeses, yogurt, pudding
  • Seafood without bones: Salmon, tuna
  • Noodle dishes: Spaghetti, Mac and cheese, and pasta dishes like ravioli
  • Soft-cooked meats: Chicken, tender turkey, meatballs
  • Steamed veggies
  • Soft-cooked rice and beans
  • Popcorn without hulls
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Soft bread and tortillas
  • Non-crunchy or sticky peanut butter and jelly
  • Oats
  • Soups

You can get creative and make delicious meals using these foods. The possibilities are plenty and you won’t even miss the foods that you will have to temporarily avoid.

What Will Happen If I Eat the Wrong Food With Braces?

Eating the wrong food for braces can potentially break them and cause great discomfort. If one of the wires breaks, it may poke the gums, cheeks or teeth. It can also result in loose brackets and prevent the braces from doing their job. If the wires are not connected to each other, they cannot work properly and straighten the teeth. Lastly, damaged braces caused by eating the wrong food can potentially delay the orthodontic treatment. This means you will be stuck with braces for longer than you want.

It is important to maintain a nutritious and healthy diet when you have braces — not just for your teeth but for your overall health as well. In case, you damaged the braces by eating the wrong food, visit an orthodontist immediately.

I'm NOT a doctor! I'm just passionate about health and healthy leaving. The information on this website, such as graphics, images, text and all other materials, is provided for reference and educational purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the advice provided by your own physician or other medical professional. The content is not intended to be complete or exhaustive or to apply to any specific individual's medical condition.