Foods to Eat When You Have Braces

by | Nov 29, 2021 | General Orthodontics, Orthodontic Treatments | 0 comments

It’s important to remember that dental braces do not prevent us from eating anything; there is only a list of foods that should be consumed with caution. So whether we have a sweet tooth and raid the candy box whenever we pass by it, or, on the contrary, we go with the hard, raw veggie team, one thing’s for sure – our love for food cannot be diminished. Regardless of the occasion, enjoying our favorite foods brings joy and satisfaction to all of us.

However, you have decided to positively change your dental health and self-confidence and are now considering orthodontic treatment. That’s fantastic!” But what about all of my culinary delights? Am I to say goodbye to them?” “What about my daily chocolate bar or my bagels?” These sorts of questions come to mind, and they deserve an answer.

Here at Patuxent Orthodontics, we believe that no health benefit comes without a sacrifice. Whether it’s time spent outside running or at the gym or saying “no” to excessive fast foods, we all have to give something in return to improve our general health. The same principle applies to teeth straightening. Bad news? You will have to pay more attention to what you eat. Good news? You will enjoy plenty of tasty foods (some that might be new and exciting to you) while wearing braces. Join us in today’s quest to learn more about the difference between the “Never-Eat!” and “A-Okay” foods for your braces!


The most common braces employ tiny, square-shaped pieces made of metal or ceramic known as brackets to keep teeth in position and straighten them. Brackets are attached to the teeth themselves using either cement-type glue or rubber bands, holding the archwire in place.

Although modern technology has produced sturdier teeth straightening devices, they are not perfect. Accidents can still occur – rubber bands or brackets might be damaged or broken by different types of food, causing pain and discomfort and undoing your efforts.


Because of this, monitoring what you should or shouldn’t eat when wearing braces is critical. For example, sticky or hard foods are full of “beloved culprits,” such as desserts. Though this may act as a deterrent to your teeth straightening treatment right now, it’s crucial to understand why we advise you not to consume these meals too often.

Sticky foods, as the name suggests, are difficult to remove. They might get trapped in braces and make cleaning a living nightmare. Furthermore, they might cause brackets and ligatures to soften and wires to bend up to the point of breaking. As a result, people with a sweet tooth should avoid eating their favorite gummy candy, sweets bars, or chewing gum and seek alternatives that are more compatible with their braces.

Hard foods, on the other hand, are another problem. They have a propensity to warp wires and pop off brackets. Moreover, not just hard foods – chewing on pens, pencils, or fingernails have the same effect. Even healthy fruits and vegetables like tough nuts, apples, or carrots fall into this category. Nevertheless, there is a solution for you to enjoy your favorite fruits and veggies while maintaining your braces: either cut them into tiny pieces and eat them carefully or cook them until they’re soft!


With that in mind, at Patuxent Orthodontics, we want our patients to be well-informed about what they should and shouldn’t eat when wearing braces. So we’ve created Dr. Lee’s Dangerous Foods List as a reference for our patients after many years of expertise with teeth straightening systems and careful observations:


The following foods have a proven loosening effect on the brackets, causing extended treatment time:

  • Bagels & hard rolls: e.g., French bread croutons and any types of bread with a hard crust
  • Sticky & hard candies: e.g., Skittles, Starburst, Laffy Taffy, Twizzlers, Caramel, etc.
  • Hard fruit: Always remember to cut and cook before eating
  • Raw veggies: e.g., carrots, broccoli, Cauliflower, Celery (cutting into small pieces and cooking before eating is advised)
  • Other sticky or hard foods: e.g., hard shell tacos, beef jerky, granola bars, corn chips, pretzels, ice, hard pizza crust, chewing gum, nuts, popcorn, etc. 


Wearing braces is not about what you cannot eat, but about all the wonderful substitutes (perhaps even new ones) that you can now enjoy! The following foods can fill the void left by bagels and candy:

  • Substitutes for sweets: e.g., pudding, peanut butter & jelly, Jell-O, pancakes, oatmeal, muffins, soft cookies, etc.
  • Softer food dishes: e.g., soups, mashed potatoes, Mac & Cheese, pasta, rice, salads, tender chicken breast, burgers, meatloaf, etc.
  • Other soft foods: e.g., cheese, tofu, hummus, milkshakes, etc.


However, even if you plan to pay close attention to what you eat and stay away from the “Never-Eat!” list, one legitimate concern persists: “What should I do if my braces or retainer comes off?” This is a significant issue because any loosening of brackets could delay your treatment for months and result in uneven tooth straightening. Any loose pieces are also a choking risk, as they may cause discomfort.

There’s no need to panic since dealing with loose brackets is easier than you might think. However, make sure that you contact your orthodontist, explain the situation, and schedule an appointment depending on how urgent the matter is. Your orthodontist will assess the state of the loosened bracket(s) and recement it on your tooth.


Contact Patuxent Orthodontics if braces are the solution to your dental woes. Whether you want to learn more about the benefits of braces or have questions about the process, use our live chat or call (240) 802-7217 or send us a message through our contact us page to connect with our friendly staff today and book a complimentary orthodontic consultation! Our office, located at 44220 Airport View Dr., Hollywood, MD 20636, proudly serves Maryland’s Patuxent area, as well as the Greater Washington DC area. So, if you’re residing in Hollywood, Wildewood, or Leonardtown and are looking for one of the best orthodontists in Maryland, don’t hesitate to visit our office! We also invite you to keep up with our blog to get answers to many of the frequently asked questions about maintaining your perfect smile and follow us on Facebook and Instagram to become a part of our smiling community!


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