Blog Post

What You Can and Can’t Eat with Braces


If you’re new to braces or scheduled to get traditional metal braces soon, chances are you’re thinking about what foods you’ll be able to eat. Good news! There are tons of brace-friendly foods that you can enjoy throughout your treatment. It’s true that there are some foods that you’ll need to avoid. However, the list of what you CAN eat is a lot, lot longer than what you can’t.

Foods to Avoid

Unfortunately, there are some foods that can cause your braces damage. Broken wires or brackets can delay treatment time, meaning you will have your braces on longer than planned. Damaging your braces may also physically hurt. That’s why we want to warn patients to avoid foods that are particularly hard, sticky, crunchy, or gummy. These are all the kinds of foods that regularly cause our patients’ braces to break.

Tooth decay is something else to consider when it comes to the foods you choose to eat while wearing braces. It’s best to avoid foods that may get stuck in brackets or in between your teeth. When wearing braces, those foods can hide behind your appliance. They may be harder to get out than normal, and you may not even know they’re there! Trapped food particles that sit on your teeth can breed bacteria that leads to cavities and/or bad breath.

We know that giving up some of these treats may be hard, but it’s important to remember that it’s just temporary. As soon as your braces are removed, they’re all fair game, and you’ll have a new beautiful smile! Here’s a list that we recommend avoiding:

  • Raw fruits and veggies that are hard like apples, carrot sticks, and celery

  • Sticky candy like laffy taffy, caramels and licorice

  • Bagels

  • Ice (you can put it in your drink, but don’t chew it)

  • Hard potato chips

  • French bread

  • Hard pretzels

  • Popcorn

  • Nuts

  • Tough meats and beef jerky

Best Food for Braces

You may think that all you can eat with braces are mushy foods. But that’s not true! Please don’t think that mashed potatoes and pudding are your only options. The best thing to remember when choosing what to eat is that it is easy to chew. Not only will easy-to-chew foods be less likely to damage your braces, they may be easier to clean from your teeth too.

Like we said above, the list of what you can eat is so much longer than what you can’t. Really! The sky is the limit. Why not take this time to try out some new dishes like this great mac and cheese recipe? You never know. You might just find a new favorite! In the meantime, here is a short list to get your started:

  • Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches

  • Sliced lunch meat and cheese sandwiches

  • Mac and cheese

  • Egg salad, chicken salad, or pasta salad

  • Soup

  • Soft fruits like bananas, grapes, and mandarin oranges

  • Veggies or fruits that have been cooked till they are soft

  • Pastas

  • Salads

  • Pancakes or waffles

  • Cooked rice

Here to Help

If you ever have any questions about what you should or shouldn’t eat, never hesitate to ask us! Dr. Jolley and our smile team understand that even the most careful patients can sometimes have accidents. If you do break a bracket or wire, it’s okay. We see it all the time. Just make sure that you contact us immediately so that we can get you fixed up again.