Skip to content

What Can I Eat with Braces? A Comprehensive Guide

What Can I Eat with Braces?

Give up gummy bears? Put away the popcorn? No more nuts?

If you’re thinking about getting braces or have already decided to improve your smile, you likely have concerns about what foods you can and can’t eat.

Good news: there are tons of foods that are “braces-friendly” that you can still eat and enjoy throughout your orthodontic treatment. And yes, there are some foods that you will need to avoid as well. But isn’t having a healthy, confident smile worth temporarily giving up a few of your favorites? Most patients would say that it is.

When you first get braces

Like any other adjustment, the first few days are the toughest. Getting braces means your mouth will likely be sensitive in the days following your initial appointment, which is why soft foods are best for you in the beginning. When in doubt, anything that’s easy to chew is a great choice – hello, mac n’ cheese!

Some ideal foods to eat right after getting braces (and for the rest of your treatment) include:

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

There are several “safe” foods that are fine to enjoy during treatment but may cause sensitivity in the first few days. Some foods to avoid when experiencing tooth sensitivity include:

  • Ice cream
  • Spicy foods
  • Citrus fruits
  • Chewy bread or rolls
  • Chewy cuts of meat

Thankfully, you’ll be able to enjoy these foods again as soon as your teeth adjust to having braces.

Foods to ban with braces

Let’s get the not-so-fun part out of the way! There are certain foods that you’ll have to avoid during treatment – namely anything that’s hard or sticky. These foods can damage your wires or bands or even cause a bracket to separate from a tooth.

Some foods to altogether avoid with braces include:

  • Hard candy
  • Sticky candy such as jellybeans, licorice, caramel, or taffy
  • Popcorn
  • Nuts
  • Hard pretzels or chips
  • Crunchy vegetables or fruits
  • Pizza crust
  • Bagels or hard rolls
  • Ice

Best foods for your (soon-to-be) brilliant smiles 

There are so many great foods that you can still eat with braces that you may not even miss the others! The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) encourages you to enjoy a variety of healthy and easy-to-chew foods during orthodontic treatment.

In addition to the foods that you can eat right after you get braces, a complete list of some excellent foods for braces includes:


  • Yogurt
  • Milk
  • Cottage Cheese

Bread and Grains:

  • Oatmeal
  • Pancakes and waffles
  • Muffins (without nuts)
  • Pasta
  • Cooked rice

Meats and Proteins:

  • Shredded Chicken
  • Meatloaf
  • Meatballs
  • Lunchmeat
  • Fish
  • Eggs

Fruits & Vegetables:

  • Bananas
  • Applesauce
  • Watermelon
  • Grapes
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Cooked beans
  • Steamed vegetables


  • Pudding
  • Soft cookies
  • Soft chocolates (no nuts or caramel)
  • Jell-O
  • Ice cream
  • Milkshakes
  • Cake/cupcakes (soft bread, no nuts)

And that’s just for starters! We encourage you to look at this experience as an ideal time to branch out and try different foods. Who knows, you might find some new recipes that stay on your menu long after your braces come off.

And finally, remember to trust an AAO orthodontist. An orthodontist is an expert in orthodontics; they possess the skills, education, and experience to give you your best smile. 

Find an AAO orthodontist near you at