Snacking with Braces – The Complete Guide

Starting orthodontic treatment comes with lots of life changes, some of which are exciting, like feeling the subtle shift as your teeth are aligned into a brilliant new smile, but others can be less thrilling, like learning the proper way to brush with braces. One of the most important adjustments that a person has to make, once they’ve gotten past some of the normal side effects of braces like mild pain, is the way that they eat.

Man with braces snacking on an apple in Western North Carolina

Whatever your diet was before braces, it will likely experience some changes during the time of your treatment. Braces are sturdy enough to shift your teeth into the ideal arrangement, but they are also fragile and susceptible to breakage. We’ve compiled the complete guide to help you navigate through all manner of snacking without damaging the hardware.

Enjoy Smoothies

An easy go-to right off the bat is smoothies. They can be as nutritious and delicious as you’d like and can pretty much be modified to suit all palates and dietary needs. Smoothies are an excellent way to get a full serving of fruits and veggies without the risk of doing any damage to your braces. Bananas, berries, yogurt, almond milk, blueberries, and almond butter are just a few smoothie staples that taste great and fill you up.

The Softer the Better

When it comes to certain foods, like cheeses or fruits, the softer the item, the easier it’ll be on your teeth and braces, especially the first couple weeks. You don’t have to cut these items out entirely, but try to limit them to their softest form. If you’re a diehard cheese fan, brie is always a great option, or throw a couple of slices of cheddar between two pieces of bread and make a grilled cheese. Fruits like grapes, bananas, and sliced pears are all easy solutions for a braces-friendly snack, and they taste great on their own or mixed together in a summer salad!

Cups Go Where You Go

Things like fruit and pudding cups have come a long way since I was a kid. Not only are they generally made with better quality ingredients and less unnecessary sugar, but they come in easy to pull-apart packaging that is good to go wherever your busy schedule takes you. If you have kids with braces, throw a couple in their lunch box to enjoy while they’re at school.

The Soft Side of Salads

Certain salads will be a much better option than others. These include soft fruit salads—like those featuring bananas, citrus, or pears, potato salad—macaroni salad, and couscous salad. Just be sure to chop up the pieces in your salad into small bite sizes. This will ensure that you’re not spending too much time or effort biting things in half and that your back teeth are doing most of the chewing work.

Go for a Wrap over a Baguette

Thick, crusty bread, while tasty, is not going to be your friend while you have braces. Instead, opt for a wrap, which is both easier to bite through and healthier overall. Fill it up with whatever ingredients you like that won’t cause an issue with your braces and slice your wrap into small pinwheels for snacking.

Tap Your Culinary Creativity

While following a diet that’s easy on your braces may feel restrictive, adding flair to your cuisine will keep things interesting and may spark an interest in cooking. Try your hand at creating your own peanut butter yogurt dip, make fun out of designing a fruit salad bowl, or, for the real gourmand, try your hand at making your own pretzel bites and switching up the way that you flavor them. Does homemade ice cream sound good to you? Us too! And it’s easy if you follow any one of these recipes:

(Be sure to avoid adding chocolate chips or other items that might damage braces)

Just remember, when cooking at home with braces in mind, the softer the food, the better you’ll manage.

Foods You Should Avoid

While we’re always happy to share with you the delicious foods that you can indulge in as a daily snack, we feel it’s important to remind you of the foods that you should be careful to avoid. They include any food that you would consider tough, sticky, or hard. Foods that fit this description and should be avoided would be:

  • Corn chips
  • Popcorn
  • Peanut butter (okay if blended into a smoothie)
  • Nuts
  • Hard or sticky candy
  • Hard taco shells
  • Ice
  • Pretzels

Any foods similar to the above should be totally avoided until after treatment has been completed and braces are off.

Use Caution with These Snacking Options

While some items are off limits (see the above list), other foods are okay to eat but require a judgment call on the best way to do so. Things like raw carrots and corn on the cob can both wreak total havoc on a set of braces if they aren’t first prepared. For the carrots, chop them up into smaller pieces that can be chewed with a person’s back teeth. The corn should be cut off the cob and eaten with a fork. Doing this will save your braces from any damage and ensure that you’re not running off to an emergency orthodontist appointment for yourself or a loved one.

Other foods that require cautious eating are hard breads like a baguette or bagel, pizza crust, apples, chips, burgers, and sub sandwiches. When in doubt, cut something into manageable, bite sizes first.


Braces don’t have to spell doom for your diet—there are plenty of ways to keep what you eat healthy and interesting while simultaneously protecting your braces. Be sure to check out our Unbeatable Braces Friendly Diet for more recipe ideas. Orthodontic correction always comes with a bit of getting used to, but it’ll be worth it. Just remember to keep this guide handy and comment below with any questions.

Are you or someone you know interested in learning more about braces? Be sure to check out the things we think you should know before getting braces, then feel free to contact us to set up a complimentary consultation with one of our doctors. You’ll get to ask all the questions that you’ve always had about orthodontic correction techniques and come up with a payment plan that fits your needs.