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Foods to Avoid with Braces: What You Can and Can’t Eat


d you know that people with straighter teeth are perceived as smarter and more successful? While this isn’t likely to be the sole reason, an increasing number of youth and adults are getting orthodontics.

With invisible brace options now available, straightening your smile no longer has to be so obvious. Even so, it’s not a carefree process and you need to care for your braces and teeth throughout treatment.

Have you recently got braces or about to have them put on? If you are wondering what information you will need to know, you’re in the right place. Keep reading below for a list of foods to avoid with braces.

Foods to Avoid with Braces

One of the biggest adjustments kids and adults alike face when getting braces is food restrictions. You now have to be mindful of everything you put in your mouth or risk a painful (and costly) repair.

Read below for things you should avoid whenever possible.


Topping the list of things to avoid with braces? Gum! No matter the type, it will get stuck in all the nooks and crannies around your braces.

While it may not damage the hardware exactly, when stuck in small spaces, it can be nearly impossible to remove.

You may also bend wires without even realizing. If this happens, your teeth may start to shift. This ultimately means you may be stuck with longer treatment time.

Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds are highly nutritious but mischievously dangerous for those with braces. Both items are hard, meaning biting down the wrong way on one can easily knock a bracket off a tooth.

Some nuts and seeds are also tiny, meaning they can get lodged in small places and bend wires or irritate your gums.

Meat from the Bone

Love chicken wings and drumsticks? We’re sorry to say that you may have to forgo your beloved finger foods while having braces.

While meat is a great source of protein and iron, eating from the bone is risky with braces. Biting into a bone could lead to a broken bracket.

You should also be cautious of any fibrous tough cuts. When the meat is hard to chew, it can loosen bands around your molars.

To be safe, remove meat from the bone and stick to lean, tender cuts cut into small pieces.

Hard or Sticky Candy

Even though candy isn’t actually a food group, some people view it as one. Having candy every once in a while is a human desire, but it can be very harmful to your braces.

Hard candy can break brackets, while sticky candy turns to glue around the hardware. Avoid it as much as possible.

When you do indulge in things that are surgery or sticky, it’s more important than ever to thoroughly clean your braces.

If poor hygiene habits are left unchecked, there is a much higher risk for plaque build-up. This, in turn, leads to cavities.

Keeping up good hygiene habits also decreases the chance your teeth may become more sensitive and painful.

Items Safe to Eat

Now that we covered some of the big red flag foods for braces, enjoy the following items that are great options to turn to! While these are considered braces-friendly, remember to keep up proper dental hygiene.


A great alternative to meat, tofu is super soft and can be prepared in many different ways. You can toss cubes of it into a stir fry or bake it in the oven to get a delicious crisp on the outside.

Soft Bread and Grains

Various types of bread and grains are important in getting fiber and other important nutrients. The good news is that most options are soft, meaning any brace wearer will be able to safely chew them.

Just be mindful of especially crusty options like baguettes and bagels. Stay away from whole grains that haven’t been ground up. Like seeds mentioned above, they can get stuck and damage your braces.

Cooked Vegetables

Packed with minerals and vitamins, vegetables should be a staple in any diet, but cooked vegetables are especially good for someone with braces.

Try steaming or sauteing your favorite veggie. If you start to get bored with one, swap out your spices. Do you usually just go for classic salt and pepper? Consider venturing out and trying turmeric or chili pepper flakes!

While raw vegetables aren’t completely off the table, be careful with raw carrots as they tend to be rather hard!


Fruits are a key part of any healthy diet, but not all are created equal when you have braces.

Avoid hard fruits like apples, especially when whole. To be safe, cut apples and other fruit like pears into small pieces.

Soft fruits like bananas and berries are excellent choices, even when your teeth may feel sore after an adjustment.


Calcium is important for healthy bones and teeth and the best way to get enough of this mineral is through foods in the dairy food group. Milk, cheese, and yogurt are all great sources of not just calcium, but also vitamin D and potassium.

If you have trouble digesting certain dairy products, consider soy or almond-based products.

Be mindful of some softer cheeses, as it can sometimes get stuck between your wires and braces.

Smile with Confidence

Getting orthodontic treatment isn’t always easy, but now you at least know what foods to avoid with braces.

It’s important to remember that at the end of treatment, you or your child will be left with a smile that you never knew was possible.

Looking for more information on easing the transition with braces for you or your child? Please contact us and we would be happy to help.

Schedule your FREE first appointment today!

Your first visit includes a full exam, x-rays, & consultation with Dr. Ogden—all for free!

About the Author: Robert T. Ogden, D.D.S.

Dr. Robert T. Ogden D.D.S. is an independent orthodontist serving Central Florida since 1994, and is proud to be the affordable option for local families who want straight teeth that lead to perfect smiles, all backed by a kind and friendly staff that instantly makes you feel at home. We take the time to explain all of your options, from In-Ovation C clear braces or SPEED System metal braces to clear aligners like Invisalign™. Plus, our state-of-the-art offices are designed to make your visit as fast and comfortable as possible. Schedule your free consultation today!

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