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What Can You Eat With Braces

What Can You Eat With Braces

The Ultimate Guide to Food That You Can and Can’t Eat While In Braces



I love food and if you are like me you are thinking about food all day! 

But, if you have braces on can you still love and enjoy food?

Understanding what foods you can eat and what foods you can’t eat with braces will make your everyday life much easier and enjoyable. 

Whether you are planning on starting braces soon or you have been in treatment for a few months already, ProSmiles Orthodontics is here to help you with your choice of diet for braces.

In this article, we will guide you on your way to answering the question “what can I eat with braces”?

Eating With Braces

Having braces requires a significant change in your normal diet. In the early weeks, your teeth are sore and you will be adjusting to your changing bite. This will make it difficult to eat the foods that you normally love. 

However, as you start to get used to the treatment you will be more willing to try different foods with your braces. In fact, about two weeks after you start braces you will be able to eat normal foods again.

But, with braces, all foods are not created equal.

There are foods that you can safely eat with braces and there are foods that you will have to avoid.  You will need to pay special attention and avoid all foods that could break, bend or damage your new braces. Your ability to comply with your doctor’s food instructions will have a direct impact on how well your treatment finishes. 

At your initial consultation for braces your orthodontist will provide you a list of foods to avoid after you get braces.


How to Eat Food Properly With Braces


You can still enjoy many of the foods that you love even though you have braces on. Focus on a few keys to help you enjoy most foods even with braces.

  • Key 1: Make sure to eat softer foods and smaller bites. Cut everything up into smaller bites to prevent bigger chunks needing more bite force.
  • Key 2: Learn how to bite into food with the side of your mouth. Focus on biting with your canines and bicuspids
  • Key 3: Chew your food slowly but completely to avoid biting your lips, cheeks or tongue as your bite changes



Why Eating The Wrong Foods With Braces Is Bad


The wrong foods can break brackets, wires, bands or appliances. This breakages slows down your braces treatment. Orthodontic appliances break because your bite is very strong! 

The muscles that contract to close your bite are called the muscles of mastication. These muscles close with an average bite force of 160 PSI, with the heaviest forces at the back molars.  This video shows how hard foods and a strong bite can break braces. 

As orthodontists, the back molars are where we see the majority of broken brackets and this can delay your treatment if it happens often.

Now you know how to eat the right foods and what happens if you eat the wrong foods with braces. Lets look at the some of the best tasting braces friendly foods!

Top 3 Best Tasting Braces Friendly Foods



Oatmeal is an amazing food that is nutrient-dense and great for braces. Our list of best soft foods for braces to eat when your teeth are sore from braces features oatmeal, but it also makes a fantastic breakfast food when you are no longer sore. 

Packed with vitamins and essential minerals, oatmeal is important for healthy teeth and bones. You can also load your oatmeal up with fruits to give you great flavor for your meal. Add a protein boost by mixing your oatmeal with egg whites for a complete meal.

Oats will leave you feeling full and provide plenty of complex carbohydrates that you need to carry through a long day of work. Because of its versatility, oatmeal makes a great meal that you can eat with braces. 



Pizza is every kids favorite! Whether cut into slices or squares pizza is an approved for for braces no matter how you slice it. You can load up your pizza pie with meats that you can eat with braces, tons of cheese and plenty of veggies.

Pizza might not be the healthiest menu item that you can have while your are braces on, but its definitely the most comforting and tasty. With your braces on make sure that you stick to pan crust and deep dish pizzas.


You cannot have thin-crust pizza with braces on!

The crunchy crust may become lodged in-between your braces and wires making it difficult for you to clean and cause swelling of the gums and pain. Also biting thin crust may break brackets, wires or orthodontic appliances. This can cause significant delays in your orthodontic treatment plan. 



Smoothies are a great way to supplement your diet while you have braces on. A power-packed smoothie allows you to get harder fruits and fresh veggies back into your diet since you can’t eat them directly.

You can make smoothies with a fruit base packed with your favorite fruits. Milk-based smoothies offer calcium and proteins are rich with flavor. Also, you can make peanut butter packed protein smoothies for your days in the gym when you need additional calories.

Smoothies are a great food for braces because they are filling and cold and can help with sore teeth and swelling of the gums. Make sure that you brush and floss really well after your smoothie! 

smoothie for braces

Mango-A-Go-Go smoothie makes a great braces snack image source


95 Foods That You Can Eat With Braces


We have compiled a MEGA-list of foods that are great for braces. Everything from dairy products to sweets and even more are on this list, organized by general categories. These foods are all safe to eat if you have braces!

  • Dairy

    • Soft cheese 20
    • Yogurt
    • Greek yogurt
    • Cheese dip
    • Pudding
    • Ice cream
    • Milk based smoothies
    • Cottage cheese
  • Breads

    • Soft tortillas
    • Pancakes
    • Muffins
    • Cupcakes
    • Waffles
    • Soft pretzels
  • Grains

    • Pasta
    • Rice
    • Noodles
    • Oats
    • Oatmeal
    • Cold cereal
    • Hot cereal
  • Meat

    • Tender cuts of meat
    • steak (cut into smaller bites)
    • Sausage
    • Fried chicken (cut off the bone)
    • Meatballs
    • Ground beef
    • Lunch meats
    • Ground chicken
    • Hot Dogs
    • Ground turkey
    • Hot dogs
    • Seafood
  • Vegetables

    • Cut up fresh veggies
    • Cooked vegetables
    • Mashed potatoes
    • Sweet potatoes
    • Salads
  • Fruits

    • Apples
    • Apples (cut into slices) 20
    • Pears (cut into slices)
    • Applesauce
    • Bananas
    • Fruit based smoothies
    • Blue Berries
    • Blackberries
    • Oranges
    • Grapefruit
    • Grapes
  • Sandwiches

    • Turkey sandwich
    • Ham and cheese sandwich
    • Tuna salad sandwich
    • Chicken salad sandwich
    • Peanut butter and jelly sandwich
  • Burgers

    • Hamburgers
    • Cheeseburgers
    • Turkey burgers
    • Impossible burger
    • Bean burger
    • Tofu burger
    • Veggie burger
  • Pizza

    • Deep dish pizza
    • Pan-crust pizza
    • Pizza rolls
    • Pizza calzone
  • Sweet Treats

    • Ice cream
    • Milkshakes
    • Gelatin
    • Plain chocolate
    • Peanut butter cups
    • Marshmallows
    • Chocolate
    • Brownies
    • Soft cookies
    • Chocolate chip cookies
    • Chocolate cake
    • Lemon cake
    • Cheesecake
    • Sweet potato pie
    • Pumpkin pie
    • Apple pie
    • Donuts
  • International Cuisine

    • Fried Rice
    • Stir fry noodles
    • Pho noodle soup
    • Egg drop soup
    • Ramen noodles
    • Sushi
    • Tamales
    • Soft tacos
    • Pozole
    • Menudo
    • Burritos
    • Curry


12 Drinks That You Can Have With Braces


Even with braces, you will need to wash down all that amazing food! Stick to these refreshing drinks that are good for braces. 

  1. Apple juice
  2. Horchata
  3. Boba tea
  4. Mango lassi
  5. Hot chocolate
  6. Hot Coffee
  7. Nitro cold brew coffee
  8. Orange juice
  9. Hot tea
  10. Lemonade
  11. Sweet tea
  12. Milk



What Can’t You Eat With Braces


There is one simple rule to follow with food and your braces. Avoid eating all foods that are hard crunchy sticky, chewy and gooey foods. 

These foods can cause major damage to your brackets, bands and wires. If you have any appliances such as a rapid palatal expander or space maintainer, these foods can break or dislodge your appliance. 

Not only does this slow down the progress of your treatment but it can also pose a swallowing or aspiration threat. 

A broken band that comes loose can easily fall down your throat or even worse get stuck in your airway causing you to choke. Eating foods that are not safe for braces can lead to a broken bracket, band or appliance that can turn into a life-threatening medical emergency. You do not want this to happen to you.   

Anything that you have to bite with your front teeth. Avoid sugary and carbonated drinks such as sodas and energy drinks. Be careful! Coffee and teas can contain loads of sugar, if you add sweeteners to these drinks.

Broken Braces Sliding On Wire

PROTIP: Avoid all foods that are hard crunchy sticky, chewy and gooey foods


If I Don’t Eat Braces-Friendly Food Will It Affect My Braces Treatment?

Yes, eating the wrong foods for braces can affect your treatment.  Avoiding certain foods with braces is important for the success of your treatment. 

Your orthodontist has put great care into treatment planning your treatment. Usually, these treatment plans are created in phases or steps. A broken bracket may prevent you from advancing to the next step in braces if you eat the wrong foods. 

For example, your treatment plan may require you to wear elastics to correct your bite once you have advanced to a thicker sized wire. If you break multiple braces off, your orthodontist will not be able to fit this thicker wire in. This is because every time you break a bracket off, the tooth moves out of alignment. Now the thicker wire won’t fit.  They will be forced to keep you in a thinner wire longer than expected. 

Instead of being in a thicker wire and elastics at month 6, you have now delayed this phase until month 9 essentially adding 3 extra months to your braces treatment.  This is a significant delay in your orthodontist’s carefully designed treatment plan schedule


How Does Food Cause Broken Braces

When you chew food, your muscles contract and close your bite down. This happens repeatedly to grind and chew our food into small enough bits to be swallowed. The harder a food morsel is, the stronger the contraction needed to crush or chew it. 

If a hard or crunchy food item gets wedged in-between your braces, the strong biting contraction may break the bracket or band off of your tooth. 

Some foods should be avoided because they can get stuck in-between your teeth.This is normally not a problem without braces. Without braces you can easily floss or pick out a piece of food that will irritate your gums.

With braces on, it can be more difficult to remove pesky particles. They can remain stuck in between your teeth and under your gums causing inflammation.

This can lead to bleeding gums, swollen gums and even infections of the gum. Painful and swollen gums are not fun, so avoid eating these foods with braces to avoid these problems. 


Top 3 Must Avoid Foods For Braces


Flaming Hot Cheetos and Takis

Hot chips such as Flaming Hot Cheetos, Takis and Sabritones are the number one food that you can not eat with braces. Flaming Hot Cheetos, Takis, Hot Fries, Hot’n Spicy chicharrones, Flaming Hot Doritos, Sabritones chips and Sabritas Chips must be avoided while you have braces on. 

These hot chips are hard and crunchy, so you have to bite down hard to crush them with your teeth. When this happens an edge of the chip may be wedged against your braces and break the bracket away from the glue. 

Hot chips also can cause the very end of the wire to flex and come out of the last bracket. This is the number one cause of emergency wire pokes.

Even worse, if you bend your wire but it doesn’t come out of the bracket, it can apply an unexpected force on the tooth and move teeth in the wrong direction. This will be a major setback in your orthodontic treatment. 

Hot chips are guaranteed bracket breakers! Flaming Hot Cheetos and Takis have earned the number one spot as a food that you must avoid with braces.




Popcorn is one of the best snacks for kids, teens and adults. While this crispy and salty snack is very tasty, it can wreak havoc on braces and gum tissues during your braces treatment. This makes popcorn one of the worst foods for braces. 

Here’s why you can’t eat popcorn with braces 

Since all of the popcorn kernels do not pop, you will occasionally grab a handful of popped popcorn and a few kernels. A popcorn kernel is hard enough that biting on it can easily break a bracket or snap a wire. 

Kernels are also small enough to get stuck underneath your brackets or wires or in-between the parts of your appliance like an expander. This can cause an uncomfortable situation that you can’t fix without an emergency visit to your orthodontist. 

Lastly, the outer hull of the popcorn kernel can pose additional problems. A popcorn kernel hull may become stuck underneath your gums. This has happened to all of us. Normally, we just pluck it out with our fingernail. 

However, with braces you will struggle to get a fingernail in between your braces, wire and colored ties. If a popcorn kernel remains underneath your gums it will cause inflammation of the gum tissues. Inflammation leads to redness, pain and swelling of the gums. 

If the kernel remains long enough you can experience a full blown infection of the gum tissues due to the accumulation of plaque and bacteria in the area. 

It is because of all of these reasons that popcorn is the number 2 food that you can’t eat with braces on.

PROTIP:Try a no hull no kernel popcorn with your braces instead of traditional popcorn! 


Sticky or Hard Candies

Hard candies are both too hard and sticky for an approved food for braces. 

The biting force that it takes to crush a hard candy with your teeth is not compatible with braces, wires and orthodontic appliances. If hard candy gets positioned on top of a bracket and you bite down, you are sure to break a brace off.  

Also, candies are high sugar content items. Even if you suck the candy instead of chewing it, you are flooding your mouth with sugar. This sugar is food for acid-producing bacteria that cause cavities. This can ruin your beautiful straight teeth. Enamel decalcification is after your braces come off, is unhealthy and unattractive. 

For this reason, hard candies are our number 3 food that should be avoided with braces. 

57 Foods You Can’t Eat With Braces


While hot chips, popcorn and hard candies are the 3 worst offenders, there are still lots of foods that are not good for braces.  Check out our MEGA list of foods that are not safe to eat with braces. 

  • Chewing gum
  • Taffy
  • Hard candy
  • toast
  • Cheez-It
  • Caramels
  • Starbursts
  • Celery
  • Gummy worms
  • Caramel apples
  • Licorice
  • pecans
  • Tootsie rolls
  • Now and laters
  • Popcorn
  • Nuts
  • Ice
  • Kettle corn
  • Rice cakes
  • Pringles
  • Granola
  • Doritos
  • Saltine crackers
  • Tostadas
  • Hard shell tacos
  • Whole apples
  • Hot Cheetos
  • Gummy fruit snacks
  • Fried chicken
  • Thick bagels
  • Tortilla chips
  • Hard tacos
  • Pretzels
  • cashews
  • Cheese puffs
  • Hot fries
  • Cheetos
  • Graham crackers
  • Gold fish
  • Shoestring french fries
  • Thin crust pizza
  • Takis
  • Funyuns
  • Sun chips
  • Caramel apples
  • Pizza crust
  • Lays chips
  • French fries
  • Waffle-cut french fries
  • Shoestring french fries
  • Crackers
  • Crunchy bread
  • Hard tacos
  • Kettle corn popcorn
  • Cheese popcorn
  • Caramel popcorn
  • Corn on the cob

Top 10 Foods To Avoid With Clear Braces


Clear braces with clear ties are a beautiful and esthetic option for your braces treatment. However, there are some concerns that clear braces may hold the color of certain foods and stain. There are foods that can stain clear braces and clear ties. Here is a list of many of the most common culprits. These are some of the foods to avoid with clear braces

  • Hot Coffee
  • Iced Coffee
  • Hot Tea
  • Iced Tea
  • Curry
  • Turmeric spiced food
  • Spaghetti sauce and other red pasta sauces
  • Pizza sauce
  • Enchilada sauce
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Soy sauce
  • Pomegranates
  • Blueberries


Braces doesn’t have to keep you from enjoying great tasting food.  By following a few simple keys and avoiding a handful of foods, you can still love and eat food during treatment.

Having braces on does not have to decrease your quality of life. In fact, when it is all said and done your life should be more rich from the experience!

dr jesse mcguire eating food

Dr Jacob Sisombath of MiniApple Dental & Dr Jesse McGuire


If you are in orthodontic treatment with braces or clear aligners in the West Valley of Phoenix and have any questions about your treatment, please give us a call. Dr. Jesse McGuire is here to answer your questions and help you throughout the entire treatment process. At ProSmiles Orthodontics we pride ourselves on exceptional patient care and comfort with braces or clear aligners!


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