Dr. Jesse Teng
ABO Certified Orthodontist
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What Can I Eat With Braces

What Can I Eat With Braces?

If you’re thinking about making the amazing choice of getting braces and improving your smile, you likely have questions about what foods you can’t eat.  Don’t worry!  There are many, many braces-friendly foods you can still enjoy during treatment without any qualms.  However, there will be foods you will have to give up for a short while.  But here at JT Orthodontics in El Paso, we can guarantee that giving up any food temporarily is worth the new healthy and confident smile we’ll give you.  Who would say no to peanuts for a while in exchange for perfect teeth and good looks?

When You First Get Braces

Like any change, the first few days with braces will be the hardest.  Your mouth and teeth might be sensitive during the days following your first appointment.  Att JT Orthodontics, we will provide tips and tricks to help you work through this adjustment.  For example, Tylenol/Advil can help relieve initial pain.  Because your teeth may be sensitive, it is best to stick to soft foods in the beginning.  Avoid tough meats, hard bread, and raw vegetables during the initial period.  Anything easy to chew is a great choice!  Examples include:

  • Oatmeal
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Soups
  • Pasta
  • Seafood
  • Soft vegetables
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Soft cheeses
  • Bananas
  • Yogurt

As soon as your teeth adjust to having braces, you can go back to chewy meats and bread, raw veggies, ice cream, spicy foods, and citrus fruits.  However, you’ll need to protect your orthodontics appliances when you eat for as long as you’re wearing braces.  The first thing you must learn to do is cut up your food into small pieces and use your back teeth for chewing.

Foods to Ban With Braces

Unfortunately, there are certain foods to avoid during treatment.  Generally hard and sticky foods should be avoided. These foods can damage your wires or bands or even cause a bracket to separate from a tooth.  Here are some examples of foods you can’t eat:

  • Chewy foods: bagels, hard rolls, licorice
  • Crunchy foods: popcorn, ice, hard chips
  • Sticky foods: caramels, gum
  • Hard foods: nuts, hard pretzels, hard breads
  • Sugary items: candy, sodas, gummies
  • Foods you have to bite into: corn on the cob, apples, carrots, meat on the bone

Eating these foods, as well as chewing on hard things (for example, pens, pencils, or fingernails) can damage the braces. When a bracket (brace) comes loose and is no longer attached to your tooth, that tooth is no longer moving. It could even begin moving back to where it started! Loose and broken braces will cause treatment to take longer and could lead to poorer results. If you do have a loose or broken bracket, it will more than likely still be attached to the wire, but not the tooth, causing it to slide along the wire. At JT Orthodontics, you can call our office if this occurs so that we can schedule you for a repair appointment. Please use our provided wax to avoid any irritation until your repair appointment!

During treatment, you still need to keep your regular dental cleanings/check-ups every 6 months with your general dentist. Braces, themselves, do not cause cavities, but poor oral hygiene during braces treatment definitely can, you must maintain proper oral hygiene while in treatment.

Tips and Tricks

Here are some tips to help you through this transitional time.  Remember, we at JT Orthodontics are here to help and make this the best experience possible, so don’t hesitate to ask questions.

  1. Eat a meal before your appointments, in case you feel soreness after your orthodontic appointment
  2. You can take Tylenol (follow the dosage information on the bottle) about 30 minutes before your braces bonding appointment and any wire-adjustment appointments
  3. Use chapstick/lip balm at your appointments! We can provide you with some, or you can bring your favorite kind with you.
  4. Some patients can develop canker sores throughout orthodontic treatment. Rinses can be purchased at any drugstore to alleviate mouth sores.
  5. Before going to bed, pack wax on top of any new brackets, to avoid any new sores when you wake up! If you heat the wax by kneading it between your fingers for a few moments, it is more likely to stick to the brackets for a longer period of time.

Invisalign/Clear Aligners

JT Orthodontics is also a top Invisalign provider in El Paso and clear aligners are another excellent choice at our practice.  Just like braces, clear aligners will give you that perfect smile that will enhance your self-confidence.  However, unlike with braces, you are able to eat anything you’d like with clear aligners!  Simply take out your aligners whenever you eat and make sure to brush/floss before putting them back in.  If you have any further questions about the difference and what option is best for you, we provide free treatment consultations which you can schedule over the phone or here on our website (buttons on the right).


In conclusion, while there are certain foods to avoid when you have braces, there are still plenty of delicious options you can enjoy throughout your treatment. The initial adjustment period may require you to stick to soft foods, but as your teeth adapt, you can gradually reintroduce foods. Remember to cut your food into small pieces in the beginning and use your back teeth for chewing to protect your braces. It’s important to avoid hard, sticky, and sugary foods that can damage your wires or brackets. Maintaining good oral hygiene and attending regular dental check-ups are crucial for a successful outcome. At JT Orthodontics, we are here to support you and provide help to make your braces journey as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. EmBRACE the temporary sacrifices for the long-term benefits of a healthy and confident smile!

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