Foods to Avoid

Even though today’s braces are sturdy, stable, and very durable, you will still need to treat them with care.

For optimal results, changing a few of your eating habits is crucial.  Certain foods will not only make it harder to clean your teeth but some will actually damage your brackets.

Eating with Braces

For the first few days with your new braces, you will want to stick to soft foods.

You will experience some soreness as your teeth are adjusting and eating foods with a soft texture like mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, spaghetti, and applesauce are best.

Once the initial discomfort subsides you will need to learn to cut up your food into small bites and only use your back teeth for chewing.

Foods to Avoid with Braces

  • Hard foods – nuts, hard pretzels, hard candy, hard cookies
  • Hard raw vegetables
  • Tough meats – steak, beef jerky, pork
  • Sugary food – candy
  • Sticky foods – caramels, gum, taffy, Starburst, gummy bears
  • Crunchy foods – popcorn, ice, hard taco shells, crackers, nuts, chips, crunchy peanut butter
  • Chewy foods – pizza crust, bagels, hard rolls, licorice
  • Foods you have to bite into – corn on the cob, apples, carrots
  • Soda – other sugary drinks including fruit juices
  • Inedible food – chewing on pens, pencils, biting fingernails

Cut These Foods Up Into Smaller Pieces or Soften First

Just because you can no longer bite into hard foods with your front teeth, it doesn’t mean you have to avoid them completely. Just simply cut them into small bites or soften them with steam or sauce.

  • Raw vegetables
  • Croutons
  • French or Italian bread
  • Fruit
  • Hard rolls
  • Pizza crust
  • Tough meat
  • Burgers
  • Sub sandwiches
  • Corn the cob

Foods You Can Eat with Braces

  • Soft fruits
  • Steamed or soft vegetables
  • Dairy products – soft cheese, yogurt
  • Soft meats – includes lunch meat and meatballs
  • Seafood – as long as it doesn’t have bones
  • Desserts – ice cream, smoothies, cake, milkshakes, Jell-O, frozen yogurt, soft cookies
  • Pasta and rice
  • Soft bread and grains
  • Muffins
  • Eggs
  • Pudding
  • Light crackers
  • Soups
  • Creamy peanut butter and jelly sandwiches

Strengthening Your Enamel

The outermost layer of a tooth is called the enamel.

This substance is the hardest in the human body and protects the teeth from decay and damage.

The brackets for your braces are attached to the enamel. Therefore, it is important to keep your teeth strong and healthy. Consider adding some of the following foods to your diet to strengthen your enamel:

  • Calcium – Milk, cheese, yogurt, other dairy products, broccoli, okra, kale, and tofu
  • Protein – Soft meats, tofu, beans, eggs, and protein shakes

More Tips and Advice

  • You can still enjoy your favorite foods, just learn to cook and prepare them in different ways.
  • Chewy candy, gum, and other foods can surround your brackets and pull them away from your teeth or wedge themselves under your braces where they are hard to remove and slowly lead to tooth decay.
  • The hulls from popcorn can get stuck between your teeth even without braces. These can damage your wires or lodge in so deeply it becomes so difficult to get out.
  • Biting into any hard foods can force your wires out of alignment.
  • Tearing anything with your teeth or biting into foods with your front teeth is highly discouraged.
  • Avoid soda, sports drinks, and fruit juice because of the high amounts of sugar but also the high levels of acid. Over time, these drinks will decay your teeth.
  • If you love bone-in chicken wings, just cut the meat off of the bone before eating.
  • A big burger, pizza crusts, bagels, and soft pretzels will need to be cut into bite-size pieces.

Tips for Sensitive Teeth

Besides sticking to only soft foods when you have tooth sensitivity and discomfort, you can also get some relief by rinsing your mouth with a mixture of salt and water. Simply dissolve one teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of warm water. Over-the-counter pain relief medicines are also helpful.

Contact Us for More Information

Curious about the types of foods you can eat while undergoing orthodontic treatment?

Contact our Oakland, CA practice online or call us at 510-482-0600 for more information.

Dr. Righellis & Dr. Ikeda
Meet Dr Righellis & Dr Ikeda
All of the staff at Righellis & Associates are nice and welcoming. Not only are they kind, but they are also good at their jobs! I would recommend them to anyone looking for an orthodontist!A. J.

Righellis & Associates

Orthodontics for Children and Adults

2220 Mountain Blvd.
Suite 204
Oakland, CA 94611
510-482-0600

Office Hours

Monday - Thursday: 7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Friday: On a limited basis – please call for availability