Can You Eat with Braces? Learning How to Manage Your Diet

June 27, 2024

Navigating mealtimes can be a unique experience for those undergoing orthodontic treatment with braces. Beyond the aesthetics of a straighter smile, braces play a crucial role in aligning teeth and correcting bite issues. However, not knowing how to eat with braces can create a crazy challenge for those who wish to align their smile as well as enjoy their food.  

The presence of brackets, wires, and other components can make certain foods challenging to eat, while others may pose a risk of damaging the braces themselves. 

In this blog post, we will tell you all about the foods you can and cannot eat with braces. We will also give you bonus tips on how you can navigate the dining table and enjoy your meal to the fullest despite having braces! 

What are Braces?

Braces are orthodontic appliances designed to correct misaligned teeth and jaw discrepancies, ultimately improving both dental function and aesthetics. They consist of key components that include:


Small, square-shaped attachments typically bonded to the front surface of each tooth using dental adhesive


A thin, metal wire that connects all the brackets and applies gentle pressure to guide teeth into proper alignment.

Bands (if applicable):

Metal rings that fit around the molars or other teeth to provide additional anchorage for the braces.

Elastics (rubber bands):

Sometimes used to apply additional force to specific teeth or jaws to aid in alignment corrections.

Together, these components gradually shift your teeth into desired positions over time.

How Do Braces Affect Eating?

Before knowing "Can you eat with braces?" it is important to understand how braces affect eating. 

The presence of braces can significantly impact eating habits due to the brackets, wires, and other components in the mouth. 

  • Because brackets are attached to the front of teeth, they can initially feel bulky and may scrape against the inner cheeks or lips. This can make chewing certain foods uncomfortable until the mouth adjusts.
  • The archwire connects the brackets and applies pressure to gradually move teeth. It may need adjustments periodically, temporarily affecting eating comfort until the mouth adjusts to the new tension.
  • Bands and elastics, if used, can also affect chewing patterns and may require adjustments in eating habits to avoid dislodging them.

What Food Can You Eat with Braces?

Soft Foods

Soft foods are gentle and easy to eat with braces. These include steamed or boiled vegetables like carrots, peas, and broccoli, which are soft and nutritious. Soft fruits like applesauce, bananas, berries, and seedless grapes are also easy to chew and swallow.

Dairy Products

Dairy products are generally soft and beneficial for teeth. Soft cheeses like mozzarella or cottage cheese are easy to eat and rich in calcium. Milk and milkshakes are also great options for getting calcium and protein. You can also opt for plain or flavored yogurt, which provides calcium for healthy teeth and bones.

Grains & Pasta

Soft grains and pasta are easy to chew and won't damage braces. Spaghetti, macaroni, and other soft pasta varieties are braces-friendly. Sandwiches with soft bread, like white bread or tortillas, are also easy to eat.


Soft proteins provide essential nutrients without risking damage to braces. Opt for tender cuts of meat such as chicken, turkey, and meatloaf, which are easier to chew. You also pick cooked fish like salmon or tilapia for soft and nutritious options.


Satisfy your sweet tooth with a soft serve or regular ice cream without nuts or hard toppings. Smooth and creamy puddings can be super easy to eat with braces as well.


Stay hydrated and choose beverages that won't harm braces. Plain water is the best choice for staying hydrated and maintaining oral health. Smooth milkshakes without chunky add-ins are also enjoyable and nutritious options.

What Food Can You Not Eat with Braces?

Sticky Foods:

 Sticky foods like chewy candies or chewing gum can easily stick to braces and pull off brackets or wires, potentially causing damage.

Hard Foods:

Hard candies like lollipops and jawbreakers can break braces and damage wires. Chewing on ice cubes can also exert too much pressure on braces and lead to brackets breaking off.

Crunchy Foods:

Popcorn kernels and husks can get lodged in braces and cause irritation or damage. Hard nuts like almonds or seeds like sunflower seeds can also lead to broken braces and bent wires.

Chewy Foods:

Tough and chewy bread products like bagels and hard rolls can bend wires and dislodge brackets. Similarly, hard and chewy meats can damage braces and make them uncomfortable to wear.

Sugary Foods & Drinks:

Sugary drinks can lead to plaque buildup around braces, increasing the risk of cavities.

Tough Fruits & Vegetables:

Crunchy fruits and vegetables, such as raw carrots and apples, should be cut into small pieces or cooked to avoid damaging braces.

Tips for Eating Out with Braces

Eating out with braces can be enjoyable with a bit of planning and awareness of what to avoid. Here are some tips for navigating restaurant menus.

Choose Soft & Tender Options:

Choose dishes that are soft and easy to chew, such as pasta, soups, or grilled meats without tough textures.

Avoid Sticky & Crunchy Foods:

Avoid foods that are sticky (like caramel sauces or chewy candies) or crunchy (like nuts or hard taco shells), as they can get stuck in your braces or damage them.

Request Modifications:

Don't hesitate to ask if dishes can be prepared without certain ingredients that might be challenging for braces, such as nuts or hard crusts.

Be Mindful of Sauces & Spices:

Some sauces and spices can irritate sensitive gums or teeth with braces. Choose mild options and avoid anything overly spicy or acidic.

Cut Food into Smaller Pieces:

If you're unsure about the texture of a dish, cut it into smaller, manageable pieces to avoid putting too much pressure on your braces.

Common Issues & Solutions Related To Eating with Braces

Discomfort or Soreness

It's common to experience soreness or discomfort in the mouth, especially after adjustments.


Simply rinse your mouth with warm salt water to soothe sore gums. Stick to soft foods and avoid hard or crunchy items until your mouth feels better.

Food Getting Stuck in Braces

Food particles can easily get stuck in braces, leading to discomfort and potential hygiene issues.


After each meal, thoroughly rinse your mouth with water to dislodge any food debris. Use an interdental brush or special orthodontic floss threader to clean between brackets and wires. 

Difficulty Chewing Tough Foods

Braces can make chewing tough meats, raw vegetables, or crusty bread challenging.


Cut tougher foods into smaller, bite-sized pieces to reduce the pressure on your braces.

Bracket or Wire Discomfort

Occasionally, a bracket or wire may cause irritation or poke the inside of your mouth.


Use orthodontic wax to cover any sharp edges or protruding parts of braces that are causing irritation. This temporary solution provides relief until you can see your orthodontist for adjustment.

How to Maintain Oral Hygiene After Eating with Braces

Brush After Every Meal:

Brushing your teeth after every meal helps remove food particles and plaque that can accumulate around braces. Brush for at least two minutes to thoroughly clean all surfaces of your teeth and braces.

Floss Daily:

Flossing is essential for removing food debris and plaque from between teeth and around braces where a toothbrush cannot reach. Floss at least once a day, preferably at night before bedtime, to ensure thorough cleaning.

Use Interdental Brushes:

 Interdental brushes are effective for cleaning between brackets and wires.

Rinse with Mouthwash:

Mouthwash helps kill bacteria and freshens your breath. Rinse with an orthodontic-friendly mouthwash after brushing and flossing to further clean hard-to-reach areas.

Maintain Regular Dental Check-ups:

Regular visits to your dentist or orthodontist are essential for monitoring your oral health, adjusting braces, and addressing any issues promptly.

Carry a Travel Toothbrush:

When you're on the go or unable to brush immediately after a meal, carry a travel toothbrush to maintain oral hygiene.


The question "Can you eat with braces?" is a journey of adapting and learning to maintain oral health during orthodontic treatment. 

While braces do present some challenges in food choices and eating techniques, they should be a cause for being unable to enjoy your food. By understanding which foods to avoid and embracing braces-friendly alternatives, you can confidently navigate mealtimes. 

So, yes, you certainly can eat with braces—with awareness, preparation, and a smile!

Schedule your first consulation with Innovative Dental & Orthodontics to learn more about how to make your food enjoyable with braces!


Yes, you can eat normally with braces, but it requires some adjustments. Braces may initially feel uncomfortable or restrict certain types of foods, but with practice and awareness, you can enjoy a wide range of foods.
Yes, you can eat a burger with braces, but it's important to approach it carefully. Burgers can be brace-friendly if you choose soft buns and cut your burger into smaller pieces. Avoid hard toppings like raw vegetables, and chew carefully to enjoy your burger!
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