What foods can I eat with braces?

It’s likely your orthodontist will give you a list of foods to avoid and dishes or ingredients which are braces-approved, but if you want to feel prepared ahead of treatment, read on for some top tips.

Knowing what you should or shouldn’t eat when wearing braces is important. This is because certain foods are more likely to get stuck between the brackets of your braces, making your teeth harder to clean, and increasing your risk of oral health problems.

Some foods can even knock the brackets off your teeth, meaning you’ll possibly have to get them refitted, or spend longer than expected getting your teeth straightened.

Meal planning and eating the right foods is important when wearing braces. As such, we’ve put together a handy guide on what food and drink to opt for or avoid when undertaking orthodontic treatment.

Two slices of toasted seedy brown bread sit on a pale blue plate with an open pack of butter and butter knife placed on the surface next to the plate

Can I eat a sandwich with braces on my teeth?

Butties, subs, sandos, sammies… whatever you call them, sandwiches are a common choice for lunch. However, when wearing braces, you may have to be more selective when it comes to your sandwich choices. Some bread types and fillings can be troublesome, especially if you have traditional metal braces or ceramic braces with wires and brackets.

We’d highly recommend avoiding chewier sourdough and seeded bread in your sandwiches, as seeds can get caught between the brackets of your braces, and chewy foods can apply too much pressure while eating.

Softer white or brown bread should be fine, and soft wholemeal bread is the most recommended option. Soft white bread, while easy to chew, can get stuck between the braces and result in a more rapid build-up of plaque.

A similarly conscientious approach should be applied when selecting your sandwich fillings. Avoid hard, crunchy or chewy ingredients to keep your braces safe and intact and try to avoid condiments - especially yellow mustard and turmeric - which can stain your teeth under and between your brackets and wires.

We recommend making mealtimes easier by cutting your sandwiches up into small, bite-sized pieces before eating. Eating slowly and carefully is also advised, and of course, brushing with a soft brush and toothpaste when finished is essential for good oral care.

A silver tray loaded with orange carrots, ready to be peeled with a vegetable peeler, which sits on top of the carrots

Which foods should I avoid while I am wearing braces?

When you’re wearing braces, there are some foods and ingredients that should be avoided as much as possible. A good rule of thumb? If it’s sticky, chewy, crunchy or otherwise even slightly difficult to eat when not wearing braces, it’s best to steer clear until your treatment has finished.

Hard sweets of any kind - especially caramels and toffees - should be left in the packet throughout your teeth-straightening treatment . We’d also advise staying away from popcorn (a regular culprit for damage to braces), crunchy crisps, fried and breaded dishes, pizza crusts and anything else that requires additional effort from your jaw.

We’d also recommend keeping your distance from sugary foods, or anything that can increase the risk of plaque building up on your teeth while they’re harder to thoroughly clean through braces.

A smiling boy with short afro hair and a pale blue tee-shirt stands in a kitchen with his big open smile showing off the braces on his  teeth

What are the best snacks to eat when wearing braces?

There are plenty of healthy and enjoyable snacks and foods which orthodontists recommend for patients wearing all kinds of braces.

Fish of all kinds (even a big plate of fish and chips, so long as the chips and batter aren’t overly crunchy!), sushi, mashed potatoes, fresh fruit and steamed vegetables, shredded white meats, soup, chilli, pasta, ramen noodles, berries, avocado on toast, eggs… Essentially, anything that doesn’t stick to the teeth or require too much effort to eat.

The best news? Ice cream is a great option for when your teeth are feeling a little sore, especially after your braces have been fitted or adjusted. Just remember to brush well after eating. .

Can you wear Invisalign aligners while eating?

There are many reasons why Invisalign aligners are a fantastic option for discreet teeth straightening. Not only are they barely noticeable when you’re wearing them, they can also be easily removed to make eating easier.

With clear removable aligners, you don’t need to worry too much about changing your diet during your treatment period. However, we’d still recommend avoiding any foods or ingredients that might stain your teeth, and sticking to healthy treats that reduce plaque building up.

At Total Orthodontics, we’re committed to helping you achieve the smile you’ve always wanted. With a range of options available and expert care every step of the way, your free consultation is the first step towards a more confident smile. Book your visit today.