What can I eat with braces?

Fixed braces, like our metal and clear braces, can significantly improve your mental, physical, and oral health, but people of all ages constantly find reasons not to pursue treatment. One of the most common justifications is that they don’t want to change their diet! At Lake Jackson Orthodontics, we understand. Honestly, we do! Food plays a massive role in our daily lives! However, when you become a fixed braces patient, you must modify your diet a little. Yes, only just a little! Over the years, braces have become sleeker and more durable than ever, meaning your diet doesn’t have to change as much as it used to!

To encourage you to start your orthodontic journey and inspire you along the way, we’ve put together the following “Yes” and “No” food lists to make the transition less stressful.

Why does it matter what I eat?

Before we dive into what you can and cannot eat, we want to tell you why it matters! When you wear fixed appliances, maintaining the excellent condition of your oral health and braces relies heavily on your diet. Though our clear and metal braces use the best available technology for comfort and durability, they are still susceptible to breakage and damage.

Eating unapproved food can cause wires to poke you in the cheek and gums (which can create open wounds) and produce broken brackets, making eating challenging. Damaged braces are also disruptive to your daily routine because you must see Dr. McGrory to get them repaired. We love seeing you, but we also understand that you might have other places you’d rather be! Being careful with your food choices allows you more free time out of the office.

Unsuitable food can also make your braces challenging to clean, leading to frustrations in your oral hygiene routine. If you cannot properly clean your teeth and gums, you have an increased risk of bad breath, tooth decay, gum disease, white spots on teeth, and other issues, which can negatively impact your experience and results if left untreated.

Altering your diet is an easy way to ensure a pleasant orthodontic experience.

What are unsafe foods?

You will want to avoid anything hard, crunchy, or sticky. If a food requires you to bite or tear into it with your front teeth, you will need to cut it into small, bite-sized pieces. Examples of “No, thank you” foods include:

  • Crunchy chips
  • Popcorn
  • Hard cookies
  • Taffy, caramel, and other sticky food
  • Hard candy
  • Taco shells
  • Ice cream cones
  • Corn on the cob
  • Whole apples and other hard fruits
  • Gummies
  • Hard crackers
  • Beef jerky
  • Ice
  • Hard bread (toasted, grilled, et cetera)
  • Nuts
  • Stringy vegetables like celery (the string can get caught in the braces)
  • Hard vegetables

Note: Patients with clear braces are required to be more careful with their choices because the brackets can chip or crack. We also recommend rinsing the mouth with water after meals to remove any residue that could discolor the ligatures.

What are safe foods?

Examples of mouth-watering “Yes, please” foods include:

  • Pasta
  • Soft bread
  • Oatmeal
  • Soft seafood and soft boneless meats
  • French fries and mashed potatoes
  • Rice
  • Vegetables softened by boiling or steaming (but still no stringy vegetables)
  • Soft fruits like blueberries, strawberries, and bananas
  • Hard fruits cut into thin, bite-sized pieces
  • Soups
  • Soft tortillas
  • Casseroles
  • Pies and cake
  • Soft sandwiches
  • Dairy products like smoothies, milkshakes, puddings, ice cream, yogurt, and soft cheeses
  • Eggs

What if I have clear aligners?

Invisalign® creates custom-made, transparent clear aligners (trays) for teeth alignment. Because the clear aligners are removable, you don’t have to change your diet! You can consume whatever you want since you must remove the trays to eat or drink anything other than water!

The only note to make here is that though aligners are stain-resistant, they are not stain-proof. To maintain their transparency and prevent discoloration, we advise you to rinse your mouth with water after meals and snack times to remove any residue that could transfer to the aligners. You could also limit your intake of teeth-staining products, such as tea, coffee, or tomato-based items, but this is usually unnecessary because the trays are changed every two weeks.

What Can I Eat With Braces?

Come to SEA us at Lake Jackson Orthodontics for more information!

Transitioning into braces doesn’t have to be confusing or complicated when you have the entire team of Lake Jackson Orthodontics to help!

If you have any questions about the braces diet or need repairs to your braces after eating the wrong thing, contact us! We are always here and happy to help!

To begin your or your child’s orthodontic journey, schedule a free consultation to learn which treatments you qualify for and get all the information necessary to make the best decision.