Learn The Top Foods (And WORST Foods) For Braces

Getting braces, whether as a child, teen, or adult, requires strict and diligent adherence to good oral health. While you might feel like you’re spending tons of time at the orthodontist, that time in the chair doesn’t allow for slacking at home with forgone brushing or flossing. Since plaque and other bacteria can easily become trapped inside and around the brackets and wires of braces, tooth decay can easily occur and go undetected. 


In addition to maintaining a good tooth cleaning routine, it’s also important to eat foods that will benefit your teeth and not set you back in your treatment, whether it be as a result of broken wires or cavities. We have comprised a list of foods that are good to eat with braces as well as those that should be avoided! Take a look. 

 Best and worst food for braces

The good 


If you’re looking for something quick to eat, it’s important to choose items that are soft in texture for the sake of your braces. This is especially important after you get your braces tightened and your teeth are sore. 


Experiencing pain isn’t a free-for-all to eat carb-dense food just because it is soft, however. Remember that carbs turn into sugar that spur bad bacteria growth on your teeth! Instead, turn to calcium-rich foods such as milk, yogurt and cheese. 


Since braces are attached to the enamel on your teeth, it’s important you keep your teeth strong so the braces can do their job. Increasing your calcium intake will help boost your enamel, too. It is also important to remember to eat protein-dense meals. These meals will keep you full longer and help keep you from snacking later. While dentists typically recommend nuts as a good source of protein, and a natural exfoliator for your teeth, we would suggest staying away from hard nuts (such as almonds) since they could harm or break your braces. Instead, incorporate soft meats such as chicken, turkey and fish into your diet. 


Finally, fruits and vegetables are always a good option! Try streaming vegetables on days where your teeth are especially sore. Soft fruits such as kiwi, peaches and tangerines are easy to eat and provide a high nutritional benefit.  


And here’s the best trick…no one expects you to avoid dessert during the course of your treatment! Treating yourself to soft-serve or other ice creams (without add-ins like bubble gum) are a good way to relieve pain after orthodontist appointments and stick to the “soft foods” rule. 


The bad 


Any food that is tough or chewy should be minimized or eliminated during your treatment. This includes foods like pizza crust, or raw vegetables like carrots or celery. While raw vegetables are normally recommended by dentists for the natural cleaning effect on the teeth, with braces, they are too hard and could break wires or brackets. 


Tough meats such as beef jerky or undercooked meat that makes it difficult to consume can also be problematic for those with braces. Just like with crunchy foods, these meats could do measurable damage in your mouth. 


Finally, avoid chewing on non-food items (including ice!) for the duration of your treatment. This could include pens, pencils or nails. Many times, we unconsciously gnaw on our pen out of stress or boredom, however this could adversely impact your braces and set you back on your treatment.  


The ugly 


Hard candies are bad for your teeth whether you have braces or not. While we would advocate for everyone to ditch these tooth-destroyers, those with braces need eliminate them most of all. The sugar in these candies can get lodged behind brackets, out of reach of any toothbrush, and lead to tooth decay. In addition, you may be tempted to bite down on the candy and cause serious destruction to your braces. 


Sticky foods are just as bad as hard candy. Taffies and caramel can get stuck in the wires and be nearly impossible to remove. 


Getting braces is a great catalyst to help you clean up your diet as well as your oral hygiene. Eating foods that promote strong teeth, healthy enamel, and reduce bad bacteria will ensure you have a bright, straight smile when you get your braces off.

Also published on Medium.

About Mark C. Marchbanks, D.D.S.

Dr. Mark Marchbanks has practiced dentistry in Arlington Texas since 1983. He enjoys caring for patients young and old. You can find Dr. Marchbanks on
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