Eating with Braces

What foods should I avoid while I have braces?

Avoid eating foods that are likely to stick to or break your orthodontic wires. These include:

  • Chewy foods, Pizza crust, hard rolls, bagels, licorice, pretzels, beef jerky
  • Crunchy foods, Popcorn, chips, nuts
  • Sticky foods, Caramel candies, chewing gum, taffy, fudge
  • Hard foods, Hard candies, bone (from chicken, steak, ribs, etc.), lollipop, ice

What are the best foods to eat?

Stick to soft foods that are kind to your braces and also filling and nutritious:

  • Liquid food, soups, purees and porridges
  • Dairy soft cheeses, yogurt, pudding, milk-based drinks
  • Breads, soft tortillas, pancakes, muffins without nuts
  • Grains, pasta, soft-cooked rice
  • Meats/poultry, soft-cooked chicken, meatballs, luncheon meats
  • Seafood, tuna, salmon, crab cakes
  • Vegetables, mashed potatoes, steamed spinach, beans
  • Fruits, applesauce, bananas, peaches, fruit juice
  • Treats, ice cream without nuts, milkshakes, Jell-O®, soft cake

What else should I remember when eating?

  • Cut your food into small pieces to avoid having to bite into them. Especially avoid biting into foods such as apples, pears, hamburgers, sandwiches and sticky buns. Biting on food may result in food particles trapped in the brackets and between your teeth and may make brushing or cleaning your teeth difficult.
  • Avoid taking sugary foods and large amounts of fizzy drinks and natural fruit juices. Sugar and starch encourage the growth of bacteria, which leads to plaque buildup. This can lead to tooth decay and enamel erosion. Water and plain milk are the safest drinks.
  • Avoid chewing on hard, non-edible things such as pens, pencils or fingernails as these can damage your braces.
  • Eat slowly and carefully to protect your braces as well as to avoid unnecessary pain. If your gums and teeth hurt too much, try mashing your food so you won't have to chew at all, or chew using your back teeth.
  • Take a pain reliever. You don't have to suffer the occasional pain that comes with braces. If the pain becomes unbearable, take a pain reliever or try sucking on ice. Make sure that you don't chew the ice, however, so that you don't damage your braces. Braces can also leave a bad taste in the mouth try drinking water to wash down the unpleasant taste.