What’s the biggest question we get at Smiles by the Bay from braces patients? “What can I eat with braces?” At some point, we know our patient will ask about the best foods for braces.
It’s important to know what’s considered good food for braces. These are foods that won’t damage your braces or delay your treatment. No one wants that, right? That’s why we’ve made a list of what you can eat with braces, what can’t you eat when you have braces, and what foods you need to eat carefully with braces.
What to Eat on the First Week of Braces
Expect sore teeth for the first week of braces. Your teeth are being made to move, and they won’t be happy at first. That’s why we recommend soft foods during your first week of braces.
Try eating mashed potatoes, well-cooked pasta, oatmeal, or protein shakes. Well-cooked, softened vegetables are OK, as well. Soups without large chunks of meat are fine, and scrambled eggs offer a high-protein breakfast without the discomfort.
The soreness should fade within a week or so. Until then, rinse your mouth with warm salt water to reduce discomfort and speed healing. You can also use over-the-counter pain medication as directed, if necessary.
Foods You Can Eat With Braces
We know there are foods you shouldn’t eat with braces, but what about the stuff you CAN eat?
We get so many questions about this. Can you eat strawberries with braces? Can you eat ice cream with braces? Can you eat rice with braces?
We’ve got them all. Let’s start with the good stuff first!
We know soft foods to eat with braces are well-cooked vegetables, soups, shakes, and oatmeal. What about the rest? Here are five of the best foods you can eat with braces:
- Fruits: Bananas, applesauce, diced fruit snacks, fruit juices, gelatin fruit snacks
- Bread and grains: Soft-cooked rice, cooked quinoa, tortillas, muffins, soft-crusted, non-chewy bread such as white and whole-wheat white, cinnamon rolls
- Meats: deli meats sliced thin, baked or rotisserie chicken, hot dogs, bologna, roasted turkey
- Dairy: Soft cheeses, grated cheeses, butter, cottage cheese, milk, smoothies, yogurt
- Desserts: Soft cookies, milkshakes, ice cream, cake, cheesecake, pudding, pies (no nuts)
Foods to Eat Carefully With Braces
You have a lot of great options when it comes to foods you can eat with braces. We have suggestions on a few other foods you can eat, as long as you eat them carefully and in certain ways. What does that mean? Here are a few examples.
- Meats: Tougher meats like steak or pork should be cut into small bites. Don’t eat ribs on the bone; you can eat the meat pulled off the bone.
- Corn: Corn on the cob is a big no-no because that front bite can damage your braces. Cut the corn off the corn to enjoy it, or ditch the cob and eat loose corn instead.
- Pizza: Pizza is OK, but pizza crust is tough and can damage your braces brackets and wires. Some places now offer “pizza bowls” with all the toppings and none of the crust. If you must have crust, try the softer deep dish, but toss the “pizza bones.”
- Fruits: Avoid front-bite fruits, such as raw apples, pears, or peaches. Cut them into small bites instead. Strawberries can be OK but watch for those tiny seeds getting into your brackets. It might be better to eat the interior only or wait until your braces are off.
- Frozen sweets: Ice cream is OK, but get it in the cup instead of that hard waffle cone. Stay away from hard popsicles, as well.
What Foods to Avoid With Braces
We’ve talked about the good stuff, and now it’s time to talk about things you can’t eat with braces. These foods could damage your wires and brackets.
Keep in mind that these are temporary! Once your braces are off, you can go back to enjoying these foods — if you wish. Given that many are considered “junk” foods, you may find that your new, healthier diet is easier and better.
Here is a list of foods you can’t eat with braces.
- Hard foods: Nuts, seeds (including candy-coated seeds), raw grains, hard candies, ice
- Crunchy foods: Popcorn, tortilla chips, hard taco shells, hard breadsticks, hard crackers such as Triscuits and Parmesan crackers
- Chewy foods: Pizza crust, bagels, licorice, taffy, gummies, jerky, baguettes, jelly candies (Skittles, Hot Tamales)
- Sticky foods: Chewing gum, granola bars, protein bars, caramel candies and candy bars, cereal bars with jelly centers
Braces Treatment in Annapolis, MD
Most of your favorite foods are just fine to eat with braces, while some require a bit of preparation. There are a few foods you might miss for a while, but only until your braces treatment is done. Then you can eat those foods again — this time, with a beautiful new smile!
If you don’t have braces and are ready to get started, start a virtual consult or schedule an office consult with Smiles by the Bay. We’re ready to provide braces treatment or other orthodontic treatment for patients in Annapolis, MD, Kent Island, MD, or Denton, MD.