Getting braces is a great way to improve the appearance of your teeth. However, braces do require that you pay more attention to your diet so that you don’t eat any foods that might damage your new braces or your teeth. Many of our patients have asked about what foods they can and cannot eat with braces. Here is a helpful guide to show you how to manage your diet while you have braces.
The list of foods to eat and foods to avoid with braces is pretty long. In general, soft foods are good, and hard, crunchy, or sticky foods are bad. Here’s a more thorough breakdown of what to eat with braces.
Foods To Eat With Braces
To prevent damage to your braces and to speed up your healing process, eat soft foods with good nutritional value to support your oral health. Foods like this include:
- Soft fruits – melons, grapes, kiwi
- Steamed vegetables
- Soft meats – lunchmeat, meatballs, cooked turkey/chicken, tuna, salmon
- Ice cream
- Cooked pasta
- Cooked rice
- Soft breads
- Mashed potatoes
It’s important to keep calcium-rich and protein-rich foods in your diet to give your teeth the nutrients they need to remain strong. Cheese is a great option – it’s both calcium-rich and soft. Many foods to avoid with braces are also protein-rich. You’ll need to replace these foods in your diet to make sure you get the protein your teeth need. Foods like soft lunchmeats, canned tuna, and meatballs are good alternatives to tougher meats. You can also supplement your protein intake with a protein shake.
Many soft foods like pudding, applesauce, and ice cream are also high in sugar. A moderate amount of sugar in your diet is fine, but don’t overdo it! Excess sugar can cause cavities and other dental problems.
Foods To Avoid With Braces
Hard and crunchy foods can damage braces or break wires and brackets. Avoid these foods while you have braces:
- Hard breads
- Potato chips
- Pizza crusts
- Raw carrots
- Beef jerky
- Tough meats
- Hard candy
- Peanut butter
Pizza is ok to eat when you have braces, but be sure to avoid eating the crust. Most of the pizza is soft enough to eat, but the crusts are too hard and might damage your braces. Crunchy foods like potato chips and nuts can get stuck in your braces and be hard to clean out. Sticky foods like chewy candies, gum, and maple syrup can get stuck on your braces, which is also a hassle to clean up.
It’s especially important to watch your diet the week after you get braces so that you don’t eat any foods that might impede your healing process.
Keeping track of all these foods may seem difficult at first, but you’ll get used to your new routine before you know it. Your diet doesn’t need to change all that much to keep your braces (and teeth) in top condition. Stick to soft foods, and avoid hard, crunchy, and sticky foods. If you feel tempted to get off track, just remember how great your teeth are going to look once those braces come off!