What Can I Eat With Braces?

Though it could feel like you are hearing people who wear braces say, “No, thank you,” to many of the food you offer them, there aren’t as many restrictions on their diet as you might think. If you have been deterred from starting the orthodontic care you need because you don’t want your diet to consist of soup and water, we’re thrilled to tell you that you might want to call us now to schedule your appointment because you won’t believe all the food you’re allowed to eat during care. Let’s check it out!

Clear Aligners

Innovative Orthodontics is proud to offer the leading brand of clear aligners, Invisalign, to our patients in the Savannah, Rivcon, and Pooler areas.

Invisalign creates custom-made, transparent trays. The customization makes them comfortable and snug, so most people won’t even know you are wearing them. The brand uses top-of-the-line technology to treat patients of all ages.

Because clear aligners are removable, patients don’t have to change their diets! The trays must be removed to eat or drink anything other than water, so you can eat whatever you want! The aligners are stain resistant, but unfortunately, they are not stain-proof. To maintain their transparency and prevent discoloration, we recommend rinsing your mouth after meals and snacktime to remove any residue that could transfer to the aligners. You could also limit your intake of teeth-staining products, such as tea, coffee, or tomato-based items, but this is unnecessary because the trays are changed every two weeks.

Metal Braces

Using brackets, wires, and ligatures, metal braces can treat cases ranging from mild to complex. Their durability makes them great for those with active lifestyles (though you should wear a mouthguard), and their resilience makes them perfect for even the most severe orthodontic needs. 

The brackets are glued to the teeth with a special orthodontic mixture, so you cannot take them off. They will remain in place until Dr. Waters or Dr. Clayton is satisfied with your alignment. For this reason, you must change your oral hygiene routine and diet to protect your appliance and oral health.

Unsuitable food can make your braces challenging to clean, leading to frustrations in your oral hygiene routine. If you cannot properly clean your teeth and gums, you have an increased risk of bad breath, tooth decay, gum disease, white spots on teeth, and other issues, which can negatively impact your experience and results if left untreated. The wrong food can also damage your braces, making them uncomfortable and annoying until fixed. Wires poking you in the cheek and gums could create open wounds, and broken brackets can make eating a challenge.

You will want to avoid anything hard, crunchy, or sticky. If a food requires you to bite or tear into it with your front teeth, you will need to cut it into small, bite-sized pieces. Examples of “No, thank you” foods include crunchy chips, popcorn, hard cookies, taffy, caramel, and other sticky food, hard candy, taco shells, ice cream cones, corn on the cob, whole apples and other hard fruits, gummies, hard crackers, beef jerky, ice, hard bread (toasted, grilled, et cetera), nuts, stringy vegetables like celery (the string can get caught in the braces), and hard vegetables.

Examples of “Yes, please” foods include pasta, soft bread, oatmeal, soft seafood and soft boneless meats, french fries and mashed potatoes, rice, vegetables softened by boiling or steaming (but still no stringy vegetables), soft fruits like blueberries, strawberries, and bananas, hard fruits cut into thin, bite-sized pieces, soups, soft tortillas, casseroles, pies and cake, soft sandwiches, dairy products like smoothies, milkshakes, puddings, ice cream, yogurt, and soft cheeses, eggs, cookies that have been broken into bite-sized pieces and softened with milk, and thin, small crackers, preferably softened by soup.

Clear Braces

Clear braces are almost identical to metal braces, except they use brackets made of a tooth-colored ceramic blend and matching ligatures.

If you have clear braces, you will need to follow the same guidelines as metal braces, but you will likely have to be more careful. Though still strong, they can chip or crack if not properly taken care of, and while the brackets are stain-resistant, the ligatures are not. Since we change the ligatures when we adjust your wires, you don’t need to worry about staining unless you consume a lot of tea, coffee, or other products known to cause discoloration. Limiting their intake will keep your braces as low profile as possible for longer.

What Can I Eat With Braces?For more information, visit Innovative Orthodontics!

Michael Johnson once said, “Pressure is nothing more than the shadow of great opportunity.” Though he was talking about pressure in athletic settings, we’re choosing to think of it as the pressure we put on teeth! We encourage our patients to think of braces as an excuse to try new things and not as the cause of skipping items, and you’ll never get bored with the endless choices of soft food. Plus, the changes are only temporary, and you’ll return to eating crunchy chips and caramel candy in no time.

If you’re unsure if a food is an orthodontist-approved item, contact Innovative Orthodontics to find out! It’s better to be safe than sorry, but you don’t want to remove an option unnecessarily!

We’re here for all your orthodontic needs, so don’t hesitate to reach out to us! Our teams in Savannah, Rincon, and Pooler are always happy to assist!