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Easy Swaps for 5 Foods You Can’t Eat With Braces

By January 13, 2022September 22nd, 2023No Comments

Why Swap Foods You Can’t Eat With Braces?

Are you or your child starting the new year off with a brand new set of braces? That’s fantastic news! You’re well on your way to healthier teeth and a more beautiful smile. But getting braces isn’t all sunshine and smiles. As you adjust to your hardware, it can really change up your usual routine, especially when it comes to what you can eat with braces.

If you’re new to braces, you might be wondering: can you eat popcorn with braces? What about chips or gum? What can you not eat with braces, full stop? Well, the orthodontic experts at Straight Smiles are here to answer all your questions so you can make your way through braces treatment with a smile on your face.

In this post, we’ll share:

  • What Can I Eat with Braces?
  • Foods to Avoid with Braces
  • Easy Braces-Friendly Food Swaps

What Can I Eat with Braces?

So, let’s start out with the good news: if you follow a few simple rules for eating with braces, you’ll be able to enjoy most of your favourite meals, snacks and treats throughout your orthodontic treatment. A few things are off limits, but we’ll get to that later. For now, we’ll focus on all the things you can fill up on to your heart’s content.

In the first few weeks with braces, and sometimes after each braces tightening appointment, your teeth may feel a little bit sensitive. It can help to choose soft or cold foods that are easy to chew and can provide some soothing relief. We’re talking about things like smoothies, soups, oatmeal, yogurt, eggs, tofu, steamed veggies and soft fruits like bananas. Basically anything that doesn’t require too much chewing.

Once you or your child has gotten a bit more used to your braces, you’re mostly good to go. Just make sure to cut harder-to-chew things like meat, pizza, or whole fruits and vegetables (like carrots, apples or corn-on-the-cob) into bite-sized pieces to avoid damaging your brackets and wires.

Foods to Avoid with Braces

Now that you can rest assured that there are plenty of foods to eat with braces, here are some ground rules. You should avoid foods that are hard, crunchy, sticky, chewy and foods you have to bite into. So if you’ve been wondering if you can eat popcorn with braces, I think you’ve got your answer!

Popcorn is a prime example of foods to avoid with braces. That’s because unpopped kernels can snap your brackets or wires, and popcorn husks can easily get stuck in your gums or between your teeth. As you know brushing and flossing with braces is already hard enough without popcorn husks wrapped around your brackets.

To make it super easy for you to remember what not to eat with braces, here’s a list of common foods to avoid:

  • Hard foods: nuts, hard candies, popcorn
  • Crunchy foods: popcorn, chips, nuts
  • Sticky foods: chewing gum, caramels
  • Chewy foods: bagels, hard rolls or pizza crusts (unless cut into small pieces), licorice
  • Foods you have to bite into: whole apples, whole carrots, corn-on-the-cob

For many of the above foods, though, there’s a simple workaround so you can still enjoy your favourites. If you cut things like apples, breads and corn-on-the-cob into small pieces, you’ve instantly got braces-friendly foods. Of course, it goes without saying that it’s important for your oral health to always avoid candies and sugary beverages, not just when you have braces. So those things remain off limits.

Easy Braces-Friendly Food Swaps

Are some of your go-to foods on the no-go list? Don’t worry — there are ways to still get your fix of your faves without putting your appliance or your teeth at risk. Here are some food swaps you can make that will keep your snacks, meals and treats safe for braces.

  • Swap smooth nut butters for crunchy nuts. Nuts are a hard no when it comes to eating with braces. They’re too hard and crunchy in their whole form, but you can get your hit of those healthy fats by simply switching to nut butters instead. Just make sure to choose the smooth kind, not crunchy!
  • Choose cooked veggies over raw. Raw veggies tend to be hard and crunchy, which we know can wreak havoc on braces. Instead of chomping on raw carrots, steam them or roast them in the oven. There’s no excuse not to get your veggies in just because you have braces!
  • Opt for stewed meats instead of tough meats. Things like beef jerky or pork chops can be tough to chew, but stewed meats like pulled pork or fall-off-the-bone ribs are perfectly safe for braces. Of course, don’t sink your teeth right into a rib! Pull the meat off first and you’ll be good to go.
  • Try pea snaps or popcorn twists as a popcorn replacement. We love popcorn just as much as our Kelowna orthodontic patients, but we urge you to wait until your braces come off. Instead, try these green pea snaps as a healthy, braces-friendly alternative to popcorn that will still give you that satisfying crunch. Or if you’re really craving that popcorn flavor, give Popcorn Twists a try!
  • Enjoy baked potatoes or french fries instead of potato chips. Just like you can’t eat popcorn with braces, it’s best to avoid chips too. But that doesn’t mean you can’t eat potatoes at all. Go for soft baked potatoes or homemade sweet potato fries as a healthy (ish) option during braces treatment.

We know there’s a lot to get used to when you’re new to braces. If you have any questions about what to eat or what foods to avoid with braces, Dr. James Scramstad and his team are here to support you. Curious about how braces can help you get the smile you’ve always wanted? Contact Straight Smiles to book a complimentary consultation today.

Dr. James Scramstad

Author Dr. James Scramstad

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