What Are the Best Foods to Eat With Braces?
Congratulations on your new braces!
If you’re reading this because you’re rocking some new bling in your mouth, you’ve just taken a proactive step for both your appearance and oral health. Spending some time perfecting your bite and teeth is bound to leave you…well, smiling!
But in the meantime, it can take some time to adjust to your new braces. Especially when it comes to what you can (or can’t) eat. If you’re looking for a little extra advice, you came to the right place! Our team in Asheville has helped many people make the adjustment to eating with braces – and we know all the best foods for you!
Chances are that if you just got your braces put on, you might be feeling some temporary soreness and aren’t tempted to bite into a crisp gala or granny smith right now!
But even after you’ve moved past the initial week or two, you shouldn’t bite directly into hard fruits like apples, or even moderately hard fruits like pears or cantaloupe. Instead, cut them into very small pieces and put them on your back teeth for chewing. (Be careful to stay toward the sides, rather than putting anything too near your throat!) This strategy not only prevents damage to your braces, but it’s also typically less painful.
Of course, soft fruits are often your best bet, at least in the very beginning. Here are some great examples:
Speaking of bananas, did you know that you can make a healthy pancake using one banana and two eggs? You’ll need to mash up the eggs and banana into a simple mixture before adding to the pan, but this pancake is tasty and won’t harm your braces.
We also recommend topping this off with some greek yogurt and a drizzle of maple syrup!
Vegetables can also cause issues with your braces. Fortunately, you won’t have to worry if you take a few precautions.
Steaming everything a little past the point you normally would is always a safe bet. This allows you to include any veggies you are already used to eating on a regular basis, such as broccoli and peas.
You can also use this as a time to get creative! Make spinach or kale smoothies, and you can blend in any fruit you’ve been missing, such as stringy mango or textured pineapple. We recommend experimenting with mashed cauliflower or extra-roasted carrots. Use a veggie peeler for thin “ribbons” of cucumber and carrots, then drizzle with olive oil for a quick and simple salad.
And even though it’s technically a fruit, don’t forget to include some avocado!
Don’t pass the pretzels, please! And leave that pizza crust in the box!
Carbs can be sneaky culprits, because sometimes they’re not as obviously risky as foods like carrots or apples. If you’re not careful, however, they can knock a bracket loose.
Luckily for anyone who is a fan of carbohydrates, there are plenty of braces-friendly options. These include:
- Baked or mashed potatoes
- Baked or mashed sweet potatoes
- Soft bread
- Zucchini bread or other dense, moist loaves
- The soft inside of bakery breads (tear off into small chunks)
- Bagged bread (without hard grains or seeds) that hasn’t been toasted
Be wary of any carbohydrates you’d usually have to tear off with your teeth, such as a bagel. You might not immediately think, “Super hard food alert!” but these should be treated with the same caution.
Meat and Dairy Products
This is another category that has a few bad options, but also plenty of great ones!
Some protein-packed choices both your body and braces will appreciate include:
- Fluffy scrambled eggs
- Shredded chicken
- Sliced lunch meat
- Ground meat/meatballs
However, be wary of options like steak, bacon or beef jerky, since they can be tough and get stuck or cause the need to tear with your teeth.
The good news for cheese lovers is that you can nosh on all the Brie, cream cheese, and fresh mozzarella you want. In fact, even cheeses like cheddar or monterey jack are usually fine, especially since they’re bound to be sliced or cubed. The only things you’ll want to watch out for are hard cheeses and some of the carbs that often accompany cheese, such as crackers, pretzels, or crostinis.
Yogurt and cottage cheese are of course extremely braces-friendly options! They are also a great way to stay healthy during that potentially painful first week during which you might be tempted to live on refreshing, mouth-soothing ice cream.
Did somebody say ice cream?
This is a favorite dessert for many, especially with summer around the corner. However, there are some popular flavors that can be problematic if you have braces. Does your favorite flavor have frozen chocolate chips or pockets of sticky caramel? It’s safest to stick to simple flavors like chocolate, coffee or vanilla.
Sorbet is also an excellent option, if you choose one that doesn’t have unexpected chunks of frozen fruit.
One good rule of thumb for dessert is to go for baked options rather than candies. Having a piece of tiramisu or cake is always a safer bet than grabbing a Snickers Bar or Skittles! And needless to say, definitely stay away from toffee and caramel.
Remember that desserts can be healthy, too! You can opt for some applesauce with cinnamon and a dash of whipped cream, or make a nice smoothie with your favorite fruits, honey and vanilla yogurt.
No matter what the sweet treat, make sure to brush your teeth afterwards. Optimally you’re doing this after every meal anyway, but it’s especially important when sugar is involved.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our guide to the best foods to eat with braces. If you’d like to learn more about your braces, click here.
Remember that one of the biggest braces-breakers actually isn’t a food at all – it’s ice! If you have a habit of crunching on ice after you finish your favorite drink, you need to be very careful.
No matter what, the dedicated team at Blue Ridge Orthodontics here in Asheville will always be there for you. Whether you need some advice or did end up accidentally breaking a bracket, we are on your side. Here’s to delicious, nutritious meals – and to eating them with a healthy, happy smile!