It's one of the most frequent questions we hear from patients: "What can I eat with braces?"
Having braces doesn't mean that you will be living on pureed, bland foods. But, there are some limitations, especially at first. Knowing what foods you can and can't eat with your braces will help you achieve the best results - and keep you from having to continuously get those brackets and wires fixed!
How to Eat With Braces
Eating with braces can be a little tricky. For the first few days or so, stick to soft foods like pasta, soups, soft fruits, and steamed or mashed vegetables. Smoothies also are a great option. For the duration, you'll want to make sure you're protecting your braces and brackets, which aren't meant to withstand hard, crunchy, tough or sticky foods. Most people find that they are more comfortable and can chew food more properly two to three weeks after the braces go on. Patience is the key when it comes to eating with braces. Remember to chew slowly and carefully. Cutting your food into small pieces also makes eating easier.
Foods to Avoid with Braces
When you have braces, you do not have to give up all of your favorite foods. However, there are some foods you definitely want to avoid:
- Avoid eating anything sticky or chewy. This includes beef jerky, taffy, caramel, jellybeans, licorice, and gummy candies. Basically, almost all candy and gum. (We know. We're sorry.)
- Avoid eating anything hard or crunchy. This includes hard candies, hard pretzels, pizza crust, hard chips (e.g. Doritos or Tostitos), hard cookies, raw carrots, nuts, and ice, to name a few.
- Avoid meats with bones. This includes chicken wings, legs and thighs, and ribs. The good news is that you can cut or peel the meat off of the bone and eat it.
- Avoid “biting off” or "biting into" foods. Cut apples, pears and large pickles into small pieces and chew them with your back teeth. Also, you need to cut corn-on-the-cob off of the cob.
- Avoid popcorn
- Avoid chewing on pens, pencils and your nails!
Foods to Eat with Braces
The moment you've been waiting for: the list of foods you can eat with braces.
- Soft foods. In the first couple of days, stick to liquid-based foods like yogurts, apple sauce, smoothies, oatmeal, scrambled eggs, pudding and soups. Mashed potatoes are a good option, as well. You can also cook fruits and vegetables to make them softer.
- Dairy foods, such as yogurts and soft cheeses
- Soft Breads and Grains, such as sliced lunch bread, soft tortillas, pancakes, muffins without nuts, and biscuits. Also noodles, pasta and soft-cooked rice are fine as long as you take small bites.
- Meats and Poultry - Just remember to cut your meat into small bite-sized pieces, and not to bite it off the bone.
- Seafood, such as fish without bones, crab and crab cakes
- Soft Vegetables, like mashed potatoes, peas, green beans, cucumbers (small bites!) and steamed/cooked vegetables
- Fruits, such as bananas, peaches, grapes, blueberries and raspberries. Pears and apples are ok as long as you cut them into small or thin pieces.
- Treats like ice cream, frozen yogurt, soft cakes and jello