Getting braces feels like a rite of passage that most kids endure. In fact, four out of five kids in America have braces sometime in their life in their quest for a straight, healthy smile.

Getting braces isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it style of treatment. There are some things you’ll need to keep in mind so that you can care for them the right way. One of the biggest shifts you’ll need to make with braces comes from the food you eat with them on.

Knowing the foods you can and can’t eat with braces will keep your braces clean and in working order. Keep reading for the best snacks to eat with braces and what food to avoid to keep your braces intact and doing their job.

Maintaining Braces

Traditional use stainless steel bands, wires, and brackets to put light but constant pressure on the teeth. This pressure encourages the teeth to move into an aligned position.

Orthodontists use a special glue to attach a bracket to each tooth. They then attach a thin wire to each bracket. The colorful elastics kids can pick out go over the bracket to keep the wire from moving.

Although there are many factors as to how long you’ll have your braces on, most people have braces for at least a year. As you wait for your straight smile, you’ll have to abide by some rules to keep your braces functioning the right way.

Despite being made from metal, braces are more fragile than they look. If you eat the wrong types of foods, you can pop a bracket off or dislodge the wire.

Foods You Shouldn’t Eat With Braces

It’s important to know which foods to avoid with braces before you get your braces on. This will help you avoid unnecessary trips to the orthodontist to get your braces fixed.

As a braces wearer, your diet doesn’t have to be boring. You’ll want to stay away from food that can damage the different parts of the braces.

1. Popcorn

This movie theater treat is infamous in the braces world. Popcorn husks can lodge into the metal of the braces and get stuck. They can also break a wire or bracket if you eat a kernel the wrong way.

2. Candy and Gum

Chewy food, like gum, is another no-no when wearing braces. When you chew gum, it can wrap around the brace wires and get stuck.

Hard and chewy candy is another food category you need to avoid. Sugar can break down your braces. It can also get stuck in small areas around your braces and cause decay.

3. Pizza Crust

Although pizza is a beloved food among most people, it is far too chewy to eat with braces. Chomping on pizza crusts can loosen braces and make them susceptible to damage.

4. Crunchy Food

You don’t want to stop eating fruits and vegetables but stay away from crunchy ones like raw carrots and apples. Crunchy snacks like chips and pretzels can damage your braces. One wrong bite and you could find yourself with a loose or broken bracket.

If you do need to eat crunchy vegetables, there is a workaround. You can cut crunchy vegetables into very small pieces to keep them from ruining your braces.

5. Ice

Ice may seem innocent, but it is a huge culprit of broken braces. Ice is okay in your drinks, but don’t chew on it. It’s too crunchy and can pop your brackets right off of your teeth.

Foods You Can Eat With Braces

When you first get your braces on, your mouth will need some TLC. Your mouth can feel sore as you get used to the new hardware affixed to it. You’ll want to focus on soft food that will soothe your mouth as it adjusts to its new hardware.

Here is a list of foods that you should eat in the first week of having your braces on:

  • Soup
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Boiled vegetables
  • Smoothies
  • Jell-O
  • Pudding
  • Rice Cereal
  • Oatmeal
  • Yogurt

It usually takes a good week for your mouth to get used to your braces. Once your mouth isn’t sore, you still want to stick to softer foods. Here are some ideas for food to choose when wearing your braces.

1. Dairy

Dairy is not off-limits when you have your braces on. Feel free to eat soft cheese and milk-based products like yogurt and pudding.

2. Bread and Grains

Although you should stay away from chewy breads like sourdough, there are plenty of breads you can still eat. Pancakes and muffins make great breakfast choices.

Soft tortillas and sandwich breads won’t damage your braces when you eat them. You can eat all the pasta and rice you want with braces.

3. Meat

All the carnivores out there with braces can still indulge in this food group. Meatballs and softer cooked meats are perfect on your braces. You can also eat lunch meat without worrying.

4. Fruits and Veggies

Even though there are some fruits and vegetables to avoid, there are plenty you can still eat. Soft fruit like apple sauce, bananas, and berries won’t hurt your braces. Steamed veggies and beans are great for brace-wearers too.

A great way to get your vegetables in is by eating soup. You can cook down crunchy vegetables and get their benefits without worrying about damage.

5. Seafood

Another type of food that has many braces-safe options is seafood. Feel free to eat any seafood that is soft and without bones. This is a great food to eat to boost the protein you need in your diet without hurting your fragile braces.

Know the Foods You Can and Can’t Eat With Braces for a Healthy Smile

If you damage your braces, you may have to extend your treatment time. Knowing the foods you can and can’t eat with braces will have you getting them off as soon as you can.

If you are in the market for a straighter smile, Owl Orthodontics is the place to visit. With over 13 years of experience, we can help you with your orthodontic needs. Contact us today to get the process started!