While the results of orthodontic treatment are life-changing, the treatment itself won’t have too big of an impact on your day-to-day existence, especially with the modern treatments we offer at our practice. That being said, there are some minor adjustments you’ll have to make (they’ll be totally worth it when you see your new smile!). Food is probably the biggest change our Mustang, OKC and Norman braces patients are curious about. In fact, “What can I eat with braces?” is among the questions we hear most frequently at our practice. The good news is, you can still eat most of the foods you love. To give you a clearer picture, the team here at Craig & Streight Orthodontics is sharing what you need to know about eating with braces.

Are There Things You Can’t Eat With Braces?

First, let’s tackle the things you can’t eat with braces. You’ll want to stay away from anything that can damage your brackets and wires. Foods to avoid with braces include:

  • Hard foods: chips, hard taco shells, pizza crust, nuts, popcorn
  • Chewy foods: hard bagels and rolls (tear them into tiny pieces), licorice, jerky
  • Sticky foods: caramel, toffee, taffy, Starburst
  • Foods you bite directly into: corn on the cob (off the cob is fine), whole, raw apples and carrots

Can you eat popcorn with braces? No. While popcorn doesn’t necessarily fall into one of these categories, it’s still a food to avoid because the kernels can be very hard and pieces can get caught in your braces and cause inflammation. Sugary foods and drinks aren’t necessarily banned during treatment but you should limit them. It’s harder to keep your teeth clean when you have braces and these foods can increase your risk of tooth decay.

What Can I Eat With Braces?

When you first get your braces put on and occasionally following adjustments, your teeth can be a little bit sensitive. It’s mild and goes away in a few days. However, it’s a good idea to stick with soft foods and cold foods and drinks until you feel ready to tackle your usual diet. Things that require little if any chewing won’t put pressure on your teeth and anything cold is helpful for having a bit of a numbing effect. Yogurt, mashed potatoes, soup, smoothies, scrambled eggs, milkshakes, ice water, applesauce and oatmeal are all good options.

As for foods to eat with braces the rest of the time, it’s actually less about what to eat and more about how to eat with braces. You can still enjoy most things as long as you break, cut or tear things into tiny, bite-sized pieces. Never bite into food with your front teeth. Instead, chew with your back teeth. Be sure to strip things like corn on the cob and meat on the bone.

Some great options for foods to eat with braces, include:

  • Milk
  • Soft cheeses (cottage cheese, brie, thinly-sliced cheddar, Swiss or American cheese, mozzarella, etc.)
  • Yogurt
  • Pudding
  • Milkshakes
  • Protein shakes
  • Smoothies
  • Frozen treats like ice cream without nuts, gelato, frozen yogurt, sorbet
  • Polenta
  • Couscous
  • Pasta and noodles
  • Macaroni and cheese
  • Quinoa
  • Soft-cooked rice
  • Eggs
  • Oatmeal
  • Cream of wheat
  • Pancakes
  • Egg, chicken or tuna salad
  • Tofu
  • Tempeh
  • Soft-cooked meats
  • Pulled pork and other shredded meats
  • Soft-cooked fish
  • Fish sticks (as long as they’re not too crunchy)
  • Meatloaf
  • Meatballs
  • Thinly-sliced lunch meat
  • Soups and stews with soft-cooked meats or veggies
  • Beans
  • Hummus
  • Steamed, cooked and soft-roasted veggies, including greens, carrots, potatoes, zucchini, etc.
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Avocados and guacamole
  • Ripe fruits, including bananas and sliced up peaches
  • Applesauce
  • Peanut butter
  • Soft bread
  • Soft tortillas (warm them up to soften them even more)
  • Muffins without nuts
  • Soft cakes and cookies
  • Jell-O
  • Cheesecake

What to do About a Broken or Loose Bracket or Wire

If you do eat one of the foods to avoid with braces or accidentally bite into something incorrectly and your braces get damaged, don’t panic. Call our office and let us know what’s going on and we’ll schedule you for a repair appointment if necessary. In the meantime, there are things you can do at home to make yourself comfortable until you can get to our office.

If you have a broken or loose bracket in the back of your mouth and it comes off the wire completely, carefully wrap it in a piece of tissue and remove it from your mouth. If there’s excess wire, try gently pushing it out of the way with a clean cotton swab or the eraser end of a new pencil and covering it with orthodontic relief wax. If that doesn’t work, you can try to extremely carefully clip the extra wire with sterilized nail clippers before covering it with wax. If the bracket is towards the front of your mouth and still on the wire, slide it back in place and, again, cover it with orthodontic relief wax. For a protruding wire, follow the steps above of pushing it out of the way or carefully clipping it and then covering it with wax.

Now that you know all about eating with braces, if you have questions or you’re ready to kick off your smile journey, schedule a free consultation with a Norman, Mustang or OKC orthodontist at Craig & Streight Orthodontics today!