Eating with Braces

A common concern many patients have when they first get braces, or when they’re thinking about getting braces, is eating. “How do I eat with braces on?” they wonder. Fortunately, adjusting to life with braces is not hard, especially if you follow this advice.

The First Few Days of Braces

I recommend soft foods immediately after getting braces. Don’t worry, this is only for a few days. Eating soft foods like yogurt, well-cooked pasta, soup, and mashed potatoes is a good idea because the adhesive that holds the brackets onto the teeth is still setting up, and hard foods could dislodge the brackets. It will also give you a chance to get used to the feeling of having braces.

The Forbidden Foods List

After the first few days, you can go back to eating normally – with some exceptions. For as long as you have braces on, you want to avoid eating foods that have the potential to damage the brackets or wires. Your orthodontist will likely give you a list of foods to avoid, which includes sticky, chewy, crunchy, and hard foods, like the following:

  • Caramels
  • Licorice
  • Nuts
  • Bread sticks
  • Popcorn
  • Ice cubes

While you can eat things like an apple and pizza, be careful when you do. Don’t bite directly into an apple or rip into pizza with your front teeth. Instead, cut them into pieces first. As long as your mindful, you shouldn’t cause any damage to your braces.

Not on our list? Chewing gum. Yes, we actually encourage our patients to chew sugarless gum even with braces on, as it increases saliva in the mouth which helps protect the teeth. Just make sure it’s sugarless.

Eating Healthy

A diet high in sugar and acid (in juices and sodas) is never good for teeth, but can be especially bad for people with braces. That’s because the sugar and acid can cause the area around the bracket to decalcify, leaving a little white square on each tooth that’s visible when the braces are removed. I’ve seen this happen even with patients who had great oral hygiene habits, so the solution to avoiding this is to reduce the amount of sugary foods and acidic drinks in your diet during treatment.

Taking Care of Your Braces

From the day your braces go on, you can help take care of them by being mindful of what you eat. By avoiding things that can damage your braces – and your teeth – and keeping up with your oral hygiene habits throughout treatment, you’ll end up with a beautiful, healthy smile when the braces come off.