Braces Friendly Diet: Meal Planning with Braces

Gentle Dental

A group enjoying a buffet style dinner at a restaurant

While they can correct serious dental issues, braces can sometimes put a damper on your eating habits. Here is a definitive guide for planning your meals around braces.

What Are the Best Foods to Eat with Braces?

When you first get braces, you will need to adjust your eating habits to prevent unnecessary damage and/or pain. To effectively plan your meals, it helps to understand why certain foods can be problematic.

Hard or sticky foods can damage braces, causing pain or the need for adjustment. This is why you should opt for soft foods that won’t cling to your teeth or your braces. This isn’t always easy, especially for people on the go. That’s why it’s important to create a comprehensive meal plan that includes good options for breakfast, lunch and dinner. You should also avoid filling your cabinets and refrigerator with problematic foods that may entice you or your child to take an unnecessary risk.

What Can You Eat When You Get Braces?

Contrary to popular belief, braces-friendly food doesn’t have to be bland. There are a number of delicious soft foods to eat that won’t harm your new braces. Some of the more popular and practical options include:

  • Soft cheeses
  • Soup
  • Yogurt
  • Pasta/noodles
  • Soft breads without a hard crust
  • Mashed or boiled potatoes
  • Soft, cooked rice
  • Eggs
  • Soft-shell tortillas
  • Pancakes
  • Soft-cooked beans
  • Soft baked goods, such as muffins and biscuits

You can also enjoy soft-cooked meats without bones, including chicken, meatballs, turkey, deli slices, fish and crab cakes.

What Kind of Snacks Can You Eat with Braces?

While traditional, crunchy snack foods can wreak havoc on braces, there are still plenty of good snack foods available. Some good options include:

  • Jell-O
  • Pudding
  • Applesauce
  • Steamed veggies
  • Soft fruits, such as bananas, melons, oranges, grapes, raspberries, blueberries and kiwi
  • Ice cream, smoothies or milkshakes
  • Light cookies or crackers

Again, when determining whether a food is suitable or not, focus on soft options and avoid especially crunchy, hard or sticky foods.

What Are You Not Allowed to Eat with Braces?

If you have braces, you should avoid hard foods that can crack your braces or cause pain after an adjustment. Some prime examples include:

  • Granola
  • Nuts of any kind
  • Popcorn
  • Hard bread crusts
  • Ice
  • Bagels
  • Chips and pretzels
  • Pizza crust
  • Hard shell tacos
  • Corn on the cob

Hard fruits and vegetables, such as apples, carrots and cucumbers, should also be avoided unless they are cut into very small pieces. You should also avoid any especially sticky foods, including chocolate, cheese, toffee, licorice and gum of any kind.

Adjusting the Way You Eat

If you’ve recently gotten braces, you may experience discomfort while eating. You can minimize this by chewing slowly, using your back teeth. You should also drink plenty of water while eating and clean your teeth after every meal.

It may sound like a lot of adjusting, but it doesn’t take long to get used to living with braces. By taking the time to plan your meals, you will reduce the risk of damage, which could send you back to your dentist for repairs or another adjustment.

If you have questions regarding the care and maintenance of your braces your local Gentle Dental dentist can help address your concerns and find the right treatment plan for you.