I remember years ago when I had braces. It was “cool” to have them, and I was so excited! The day I got my clear braces (still with brackets), all my excitement went out of the door from the moment I left the orthodontist’s office.
I sat for several hours with an ice pack on my face and watched the clock to alternate pain medicine. I remember asking myself, “why didn’t anyone tell me this?” This was before my mom gave me the long list of foods that I couldn’t eat ( and the teeny tiny list of “best snacks to eat with braces”) which left me even more devastated. To make matters worse, the list of snacks to eat with braces I was given was so short and included none of my favorite foods.
My guess is, if you’re here, your child/teenager is going through something similar. Whether you have an appointment and trying to plan ahead, or your child has brand new braces, there are some of the best snacks to eat with braces to help your child get through.
Fun fact: An estimated 4 million people in the United States wear braces!
In this article, I want to share with you some healthy foods and braces-friendly snacks to stock up on. I also will discuss some of the worst foods to eat with braces and the best snacks to eat with braces that are high in protein, comfort foods, and sweet treats for braces. These foods will also be helpful after they get their braces tightened.
The Worst Foods to Eat With Braces and Why?
Why Should You Avoid Eating Certain Foods With Braces?
Although your child’s braces are probably much sturdier than mine were nearly 15 years ago, it’s still important to take good care of them and not damage them. Certain foods can damage braces more than others. They do this by damaging components of the braces like the wires, the rubber bands, and even the break brackets.
A broken bracket can cause your child pain, emergency visits to the orthodontist, and even result in a longer treatment time.
Ok, So What Foods Should You Avoid Eating With Braces?
As a rule of thumb, it’s a good idea to not eat foods like sticky foods, hard foods, and chewy foods to prevent damaging the hardware on the braces. These foods will also likely cause more pain during the first few days of wearing braces or having them tightened.
Here’s a look at the worst foods for braces:
Worst Foods For Braces: Hard and Crunchy Foods
- Tortilla chips
- Cheez its
- Fried chicken
- Sandwiches and hamburgers (I believe these are generally OK, though as long as its on soft bread)
- Hard candy
- Hard taco shells
- Very crispy french fries
Worst Foods For Bracecs: Sticky and Chewy Foods
- Jelly beans
- Laffy taffy
- Tootsie rolls
- Caramel chews
It’s also recommended to avoid biting directly into hard foods with your front teeth as this can cause broken brackets.
To do this, consider cutting the following foods up into bite-sized pieces before your child eats them:
- Corn on the cob
- Hard rolls
- Whole apples and pears
- Hard fruits
- Raw vegetables
To prevent damage and maintain healthy teeth, it’s also important to get orthodontic treatment and avoid delaying or skipping appointments.
With that said, let’s shift our focus to the best snacks to eat with braces.
OK, So What Are The Best Snacks to Eat With Braces?
When choosing the best snacks to eat with braces, it’s important to focus on softer foods that can soothe sore gums and sore teeth immediately following getting braces. However, these delicious foods are also great snacks for anyone who wears braces.
- Soft fruits like citrus fruits or bananas with cottage cheese
- Steamed veggies with hummus
- String cheese or cheese cubes
- Diced fruit
- Protein shakes
- Peanut butter spread on soft bread
- Hard boiled eggs
- Tater tots
- Pre packaged snacks like goldfish, graham crackers, mini pretzels, Nutrigrain bars, applesauce, Clif bars, soft chips (pringles, baked chips, cheese puffs, veggie straws)
- Mini Ritz bits
The Best Snacks to Eat With Braces While Your Teeth are Sore
Immediately after braces are installed or after they are tightened, your child may experience pain when eating certain foods. A general rule of thumb after braces is to eat soft foods, but there are some that provide more relief than others.
Comfort Foods to Soothe Sore Gums After Braces:
- Soups (potato soup, chicken noodle soup, etc.)
- Mashed potatoes
- Warm pasta
High Protein Foods for a Sore Mouth After Braces:
- Scrambled eggs
- Veggie burgers
- Boiled eggs
- Milk or Milk-Alternative
- Protein shake
- Cottage cheese
- Seafood like shrimp, tuna, salmon, crabcakes
- Soft tacos with ground meat
Fruits and Veggies for a Sore Mouth After Braces:
- Sweet potatoes
- Fruit cups (avoid added syrup!)
- Soft fruits like baked apples or pears
- Steamed broccoli or cauliflower with butter
Sweet treats for a Sweet Tooth After Braces:
- Warm whole-grain banana muffins
- Ice cream
- Warm Breads
- French Toast
- Milkshakes and smoothies
- Zucchini Bread
Prioritize Oral Care For Your Child’s Braces
On top of avoiding hard candies, hard fruits, and sticky foods, it’s important for your child to have overall good oral hygiene. This is because teeth with braces are much harder to clean.
It’s best to limit sugary beverages to promote overall good health. With braces, it’s even more important to limit eating and drinking excess sugar. If your child doesn’t brush well enough, it’s possible that they may end up with multiple cavities in their teeth before their braces treatment is over.
As always, it’s best to seek guidance from your family orthodontist should you have any questions or concerns about what foods your child should or shouldn’t eat!
Getting braces can be an exciting time for your child. It means a beautiful smile is just around the corner. As with most new things, it requires lifestyle modifications. Unfortunately, some of your child’s favorite foods may not be the best while they wear braces. The good news is, there are many delicious braces-friendly food options to take the place during the treatment period.
If you have a seriously picky eater who you notice is continuously losing weight after their braces due to not being able to have the foods they love, consider speaking with a pediatric nutritionist or registered dietitian to help create a custom meal plan for you.
Can you drink coffee with braces?
Coffee and tea are often discouraged during orthodontic treatment because they can stain your bands, brackets, and your teeth. IF you have clear braces, this will be even more noticeable. Consider limiting the intake of these two beverages to keep a pearly white smile.
Can you eat popcorn with braces?
NO, popcorn is probably the worst food for those who wear braces because kernels are extremely hard. This can result in a broken bracket or snapped wire. It can also get stuck between brackets and require an emergency visit to the orthodontist for removal.
The hull of popcorn can also become stuck under your gum line and cause inflammation if you cannot retrieve it.
What are the best foods to eat when you first get braces?
The best foods and snacks to eat with braces that are freshly put on are soft foods. This includes soft crackers, mashed potatoes w/ butter and sour cream, soft bread, smooth peanut butter, soft cookies, and frozen yogurt.