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What Foods Should I Avoid with Braces?

Patients tend to worry about missing out on their favorite foods once they get braces.

Patients, especially younger ones, tend to worry about missing out on their favorite foods once they’re fitted with braces. While it’s true that the metal brackets and wires will likely change your eating habits, you might be surprised at how many foods you’ll still be able to eat with a few modifications!

Continue reading to learn what foods you should avoid with traditional metal braces. Our orthodontists can also talk to you about whether you’re a candidate for 3M™ Clarity™ aligners instead of braces.

What Can You Eat the First Week of Braces?

When you first get your dental braces, you may not want to eat food that requires a lot of chewing. This is normal. At first, you’ll feel pressure on your teeth that will go away after a few days. The good news is that once you get used to wearing braces, the pain won’t be as bad when you return to our office for adjustments.

During this adjustment period, it may help to eat soft foods. We recommend soups, yogurts, shakes, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, and other things that require little to no chewing. Once the pain subsides, you should continue to avoid foods that are sticky and/or hard to chew, as they can break your brackets.

Can I Eat __________ With Braces?

Here are a few of the foods our patients tend to have questions about.


If you want to eat pizza, it’s better to opt for thin crust. Thick crust can be difficult to chew while wearing dental braces.

French Fries

As long as they aren’t burnt to a blackened crisp, french fries should be soft enough for your traditional metal braces.


Most chips are fine, but use your best judgement. Ripple potato chips tend to be harder to chew.


Stay away from croutons, french bread, hard rolls, and other breads that are difficult to chew. Soft breads are fine, although they will likely get stuck in your brackets.

Steak and Chicken

Since meat can be stringy, it’s easy to get little pieces stuck between your teeth. We recommend cutting meat into bite-sized pieces. If possible, choose meats that are lean and tender.


Salads are just fine with dental braces. Just skip the croutons!


Chocolate is safe to eat with braces, but you may want to limit how much chocolate and other sweets you eat during orthodontic treatment. Cavities and gum disease are caused by plaque, an invisible film of bacteria that loves sugar. When sugar is left behind, plaque uses it to produce cavity-causing acid.

Hopefully, by now, you’ve recognized a pattern. You should avoid foods that are sticky and/or hard to chew during orthodontic treatment. The last thing you want is to pull off a bracket by accident because you thought you’d take your chances with a piece of taffy.

Ask Our Orthodontists About 3M™ Clarity™ Aligners

Some patients prefer clear aligner trays to traditional metal braces. Since 3M Clarity aligners are removable, you’ll be able to continue eating whatever you want during orthodontic treatment. Just make sure you brush your teeth after you eat so you don’t stain your clear aligners.

Keep in mind that not all our patients are candidates for 3M Clarity aligners. To be a candidate, you must be a teenager or adult who has the willpower to wear aligners. Otherwise, the temptation will be too great to remove your new pair of 3M Clarity aligners when they hurt during the first few days.

Teens and adults are usually motivated enough to work past the temporary discomfort to achieve the smiles they’ve always wanted. Our orthodontists can let you know if clear aligners are right for you.

Want to Learn More?

Drs. Hannapel and Pellillo are orthodontists in Caledonia, MI who are accepting new patients. To request an appointment or to ask a question about braces, call Hannapel Pellillo Orthodontics at (616) 891-7272.


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