As much as our patients are looking forward to their beautiful new smiles, it’s hard for many of them to imagine avoiding some of their favorite foods during orthodontic treatment. If you’re wearing Invisalign clear aligners, you can eat most anything as long as you remove your aligners before you eat, but patients with braces have to dodge foods that will cause damage to the wires or bands or even cause a bracket to separate from a tooth.
The good news is that there are still plenty of delicious, nutritious foods that are perfectly safe to eat with braces. Stick to the things you can eat and stay away from the others to protect your braces and get your goal of a healthy smile as soon as possible.
Foods to eat while wearing braces
The best foods to eat while you’re wearing braces are those that are soft and easy to chew. The first few days after getting braces will be the most difficult because your mouth will be sore and sensitive. Getting to know the foods on this list will help you keep your braces in the best shape possible throughout your wearing time.
- Cottage cheese (and other soft cheeses)
- Ice cream (but stay away from ice cream during the first few days after getting your braces)
Bread and grains
- Soft breads (stay away from anything too crusty or crunchy)
- Muffins (no nuts)j
- Cooked grains (rices, quinoa)
- Soft tortillas
- Shredded chicken
- Cold cuts
- Other meats that are prepared so that they are not too chewy and are cut into small pieces
Fruits and veggies
- Cooked vegetables
- Mashed potatoes
- Cooked beans
- Cake/cupcakes (no nuts)
- Soft cookies (no nuts)
- Soft candies (no nuts or caramel)
Foods to avoid while wearing braces
- Popcorn: The husks can get wedged between your teeth and in your braces, and the kernels have been known to break brackets and wires.
- Nuts: In case you didn’t get the message above, nuts are no-nos while wearing braces. They can bend the wires, slowing down your treatment progress.
- Chewing gum: If you think chewing gum is bad when it’s stuck in your hair, just imagine it stuck in your braces. Your wires can get warped and the rest of the metal becomes a sticky mess.
- Hard or chewy candy: As much as possible, avoid extra sugars while you’re wearing braces, anyway.
- Bagels and other hard breads: They can get caught in your braces, loosening brackets and wires.
- Pizza crust: Whether it’s soft, crispy or chewy, eventually, it becomes a gooey mess as you chew and can get caught in wires and brackets.
- Chips, pretzels, hard crackers, taco shells: All of these crunchy foods can cause damage to wires and brackets.
- Ice: One of the most common sources of damage to braces is chewing on ice. DON’T DO IT. You can put ice in your drinks.
- Corn on the cob: Cut it off the cob first or risk damaging your braces.
- Crunchy fruits or vegetables: Just like the chips and pretzels, crunchy fruits and veggies such as raw apples or carrots should be avoided.
- Jerky: Beef or other kinds of jerky can cause bands to break, slowing down your progress.
- Meat on the bone: Chewing on the bone can cause damage to the wires in your mouth. Cut the meat off the bone and into small pieces.
Other habits to avoid while wearing braces
While we’ve focused on food in this post, there are other things that can damage your brackets, including:
- Chewing on your pen, pencil, straw, or anything that isn’t food
- Biting your nails
- Using a toothpick
- Using your teeth as a tool to open something
- Sucking your thumb
- Brushing your teeth too aggressively
We know it can be tough to avoid the foods you love while wearing braces, but a beautiful, health smile at the end will makes it all worth it. If you have questions about what to eat or what not to eat during orthodontic treatment, be sure to ask Dr. J or Dr. D during your next appointment. If you have other question about getting started with orthodontic treatment, contact us today to schedule your free consultation. Remember, we offer a wide range of discounts and payment options to make orthodontic treatment affordable for everyone.