Although braces have become more streamlined and efficient with modern technology, it’s still important to be careful not to damage them and to establish an effective oral hygiene routine. Not only are brushing and flossing more challenging with braces, but you also need to be aware of how your diet needs to change. Certain foods can damage components such as the wires, or even the bracket itself. At the office of Kevin L. Carlton, DDS, MS, PA, we’ve prepared a handy checklist that can serve as a convenient reference guide for you.
The good news is that many foods are okay to eat with braces. In general, you will want foods that are softer in texture, especially for that period right after having your braces tightened.
FOODS YOU CAN EAT
- Dairy: soft cheese, pudding, milk-based drinks, yogurt
- Breads: soft tortillas, pancakes, muffins
- Grains: pasta, soft cooked rice
- Meats/poultry: soft cooked chicken, meatballs, lunchmeats
- Seafood: tuna, salmon, crab cakes
- Vegetables: mashed potatoes, spinach, beans
- Fruits: applesauce, bananas, fruit juice, fruits cut into pieces
- Treats: ice cream without nuts, milkshakes, Jell-O, soft cake
FOODS TO AVOID
- Chewy foods: bagels, licorice
- Crunchy foods: popcorn, chips, ice
- Sticky foods: caramel candies, chewing gum
- Hard foods: nuts, hard candies
- Foods that require biting into: corn on the cob, apples, carrots
A cautionary note: It’s important to remember that your braces are not a diet. Patients with braces can sometimes tend to miss key nutrients in their diet because they are avoiding certain foods, especially in the period after their braces get tightened. Make sure that you are getting your recommended daily dose of protein, fiber, calcium, and iron from the foods you eat.