Foods You Can and Can’t Eat with Braces

What can you eat with braces? Can you eat chocolate with braces? Can you eat chips with braces? Are there foods you need to avoid completely with braces? Are you stuck eating only soft foods until you get your braces off? These are all questions you may find yourself searching the internet for when you first get your braces on.

The good news – there are plenty of tasty foods you can eat while wearing braces, and no, you’re not limited to only soft or pureed foods. But it is important to be aware of the foods you can and can’t eat so you take care of your braces correctly, and get the best results from your orthodontic treatment.

Why Certain Foods Need to Be Avoided if You Have Braces

Your orthodontist will instruct you to be precautious with your eating habits when you get braces, and for good reason. Your braces have brackets, bands, and archwires that can all be damaged by various foods. Eating the wrong foods could result in damage to the braces.

Along with damage to your braces, avoiding certain foods is also essential to preventing tooth decay. When you have braces, it’s easier for food to get trapped between the braces and your teeth. This is why proper brushing and flossing during orthodontic treatment are important. If you don’t properly dislodge any food particles, you’re risking not only cavities but also plaque and tartar, which can cause your teeth to stain. This is a concern for many braces patients because when the braces come off, the staining is only around the teeth surface not covered by the braces. Due to this pattern of staining, Teeth whitening after braces is becoming increasingly popular to correct any discoloration that may have occurred during orthodontic treatment.

Foods You Can’t Eat with Braces

While you’re wearing braces, you’ll need to avoid certain foods until you’re done with your treatment. This will ensure your braces don’t get damaged during meal time. Do you know what foods you can and can’t eat with braces? Here are some potentially harmful foods most patients inquire about:

Can I Eat Popcorn with Braces?

Crunchy foods, such as popcorn, have the ability to loosen bands, knock off brackets, and bend wires on your braces. They also can get stuck in your braces, resulting in tooth decay or pain. Crunchy foods to use caution or stay away from include:

  • Pretzels
  • Popcorn
  • Celery other crunchy veggies
  • Most chips
  • Nuts
  • Hardshell tacos

Can I Eat Hard Candy with Braces?

Hard foods can also damage braces, and they can hurt your teeth, too, particularly if you’ve had a recent adjustment or you just got your braces. Hard foods to avoid include:

  • Hard candies (including lollipops and candy canes)
  • Some raw veggies, like carrots
  • Peanut brittle
  • Biscuits or hard cookies
  • Hard rolls
  • Ice

Can I Eat Corn on the Cob with Braces?

It’s difficult to manage eating foods that you bite into with your front teeth when you’re wearing braces. Doing so can bend wires or loosen brackets. Avoid foods like:

  • Corn on the cob (cut corn off the cob to eat)
  • Chicken wings
  • Whole pears and apples
  • Whole pickles
  • Ribs

Can I Eat Pizza with Braces?

Very chewy foods, like pizza crust, can be disastrous for your brace. They can get stuck in brackets and may be tough to eat. You’ll want to steer clear of eating:

  • Large pieces of chewy meat (instead, cut into very small pieces)
  • Bagels
  • Beef jerky
  • Pizza crust

Can I Eat Sticky Candy with Braces?

Sugary and sticky foods are always bad for teeth, even if you don’t have braces. But, they’re a more significant problem if you have braces because sticky foods can get stuck to braces, and they can be tough to get off your teeth, leaving you susceptible to cavities. Items that are off-limits include:

  • Caramels
  • Licorice
  • Taffy
  • Gummy bears
  • Bubble gum (sugar-free gum in moderation is okay)
  • Fruit Roll-ups

Foods You Can Eat with Braces

Now that you know what you can’t eat, what about what you can eat with braces? While there are foods you need to avoid when you have braces, there are plenty of tasty foods that you can enjoy. The following are some great choices:

Meat with No Bones

Avoid eating meat off the bone, but most meats are fine if you have braces. Your orthodontist will likely recommend that you cut the meat into smaller bites as a precautionary tip.

Pastas, Potatoes, and Some Breads

Do you love carbs? Most types of pasta, potatoes, and breads are safe to eat with braces. Just avoid chewy or hard breads, like tough rolls or chewy bagels, which may damage your braces due to the force needed to chew them.

Soft Veggies

While you may need to skip the crunchy raw veggies, soft veggies are perfect for snacking when undergoing braces treatment. You can boil or cook harder veggies, like carrots, to make them easier to chew.

Many Fresh Fruits

Fresh fruit is a refreshing snack choice for braces patients. Most patients enjoy fruits like bananas, blueberries, or strawberries, which are soft and easy to chew. We recommended avoiding whole apples or other hard fruits. If you’re craving an apple or pear, instead, cut the fruit into thin slices to enjoy safely.


Soup makes a filling meal for braces patients, especially if you’re new braces and your mouth is still adjusting. When your braces are fresh or if you’ve just had an adjustment, your teeth may feel too sore to chew much.

Dairy Products

Dairy products like yogurt, milk, and soft cheeses are all safe if you have braces. Like any foods consumed with braces, just make sure you brush and floss to remove any leftover particles from your smile.

Certain Types of Candy in Moderation

While hard candies and sticky candies are totally off-limits, certain types of candy and sweets can be enjoyed in moderation. An occasional peanut butter cup, chocolate bar without nuts, cake, pudding, and ice cream are fine. Since sugar can help fuel cavity-causing bacteria, make sure to clean teeth and braces well after indulging.

Even though you have braces, you can still enjoy a wide variety of foods. When you choose Laster Orthodontics for your orthodontic treatment experience, we make sure all our braces patients are well equipped with the knowledge they need to enjoy their day-to-day life with braces.

Remember, what you eat now has a big impact on your treatment outcome, so steer clear of off-limit foods in the short-term to enjoy the best results. If you have any questions about the foods you should or shouldn’t eat, make sure you contact Dr. Laster for any concerns you may have.

At Laster Orthodontics, we help families develop healthy, life-changing smiles using customized treatments, cutting-edge technologies, and caring relationships. Our individualized treatment plans help our patients achieve their perfect smile in the quickest, most painless way possible by utilizing a wide range of options from traditional braces to Propel accelerated treatment to Dr. Laster’s in-house aligner program, Laster Perfect Smile. With three locations throughout the Triangle Area, we create life-changing smiles every day.