2024 Braces Diet: Foods to Avoid for Successful Treatment

foods to avoid with braces

One of the common treatments for misaligned teeth and to improve overall dental health is braces. Braces consist of brackets, wires, and rubber bands that work together to gradually shift teeth into the desired position. While braces are the most effective way to achieve a beautiful smile, they require proper care to ensure successful treatment.

But it means giving up gummy bears or putting away popcorn, nut, etc.?

Unfortunately, the answer to this question is yes. If you’re thinking about getting braces, you have no choice but to stick to a special diet that suits your braces, as certain foods can easily damage or dislodge the brackets and wires.
In this guide, we’ll discuss the foods to avoid with braces and provide useful tips for eating with braces to promote good oral health and successful orthodontic treatment.

What Can You Not Eat with Braces?

Before answering this question, let us draw your attention to the point that there are certain foods that are better to avoid right after getting braces and the foods you’d better avoid while you have braces.

On the first days of getting braces, your mouth may be sensitive, therefore, it’s better to avoid foods that have tougher textures, as they can cause pain. We recommend soft foods during these days, like:

  • Soup
  • Mashed potato
  • Scramble eggs
  • Yogurt
  • Oatmeal
  • Pastas
  • Grains
  • Soft fruits
  • Soft cheeses
  • Moist desserts
  • Cooked or soft vegetables, and anything that’s easy to chew.

Please note that mouth sensitivity right after braces usually relieves after a few days or a week, and then you can resume your typical diet.

what you can't eat with braces

Typically, there is a list of foods you can’t eat with braces, including:

  • Chewy and sticky foods, such as gum, caramel, and fatty foods. They can easily get stuck in your braces and cause damage to the wire and brackets.
  • Tough foods, such as steak, beef jerky, and bagel. They can cause the brackets and wires to become loose or break, which can extend the length of your treatment.
  • Hard and crunchy foods, such as hard candies, popcorn, and nuts. They can get stuck in your braces and cause pain or discomfort, as well as cause damage or break your braces.
  • Sugary foods and drinks, such as soda, sports drinks, and candy. They also can contribute to tooth decay and other oral health problems down the road.

list of foods you cant eat with braces

Eating with Braces

Eating with braces can be daunting, but by following these tips and tricks, your orthodontic journey can go smoothly!

  • Always cut your foods into small pieces. For example, slice an apple into smaller pieces to avoid damaging your braces. This is a rule of thumb for all hard foods.
  • Always use a fork and knife instead of biting into food. This can be the better way to protect your braces.
  • Forget foods you can’t eat with braces! This includes any hard, sticky, and chewy foods as they can easily get stuck in your braces and cause damage to the wire and brackets.

By the way, regardless of the foods you’d like to eat while you’ve braces, keep clean the crevices between the teeth and around the braces. It means brushing your teeth after each meal and flossing at least twice a day to help your teeth and braces clean and healthy. Moreover, using mouthwash can help kill all germs and bacteria that may be present in your mouth.

If you want to ensure you are on the right path and that your orthodontic journey ends up with a beautiful smile, strictly follow the advice about safe foods for your braces, and do not feel shame to ask your orthodontist about all your questions and concerns you may have.


Can you eat with wax on your braces?

Yes, you can. Always remember that orthodontic wax is non-toxic; therefore, it’s safe if you accidentally swallow it. In fact, it’s designed to be used in your mouth, so you’ll definitely ingest some when you apply it.

If you have a mouth ulcer, the wax can help you eat without experiencing too much discomfort. However, eating a meal may dislodge the wax, so it’s best to replace it afterward. Just make sure to brush your teeth first to avoid attaching food debris to your braces.


Drinks to Avoid with Braces

When wearing braces, you’ll need to avoid sugary and acidic drinks; they include:

  • Energy drinks
  • Flavored drinks
  • Fruit drinks
  • Sport drinks
  • Sodas
  • Acidic liquids, etc.

Please note that sugary drinks like sports drinks contain high amounts of sugar that can promote the growth of bacteria in your mouth, leading to cavities and gum disease. The sugar can also stick to the braces and be difficult to clean off, increasing the risk of plaque buildup.

Another useful tip is to limit your acidic beverage, as they not only erode the enamel on your teeth and make them vulnerable to decay but also can damage the brackets and wires, making them more likely to break or become loose.

So, if you want to drink acidic beverages, try using a straw placed at the back of your mouth to minimize contact with your teeth and braces.

Overall, water is the best drink that is both tooth and brace-friendly.

Drinks to Avoid with Braces


Can I eat cereal with braces?

Yes, you can, but it’s better to avoid hard crunchy cereal while you have braces. Instead, we recommend you use softer cereals like rice cereal, cream-of-wheat, oatmeal, and other similarly soft cereals. Additionally, it’s better to avoid hard, crunchy cereals that you eat with milk, as they can easily damage your brackets and wires. If you still want to eat them, we advise you to soak them in milk for a few minutes to soften them even more.

Lastly, don’t forget to brush your teeth and rinse your mouth thoroughly.

Can I eat popcorn with braces?

When you eat popcorn, it can get stuck under braces, making it difficult to remove even with brushing and flossing. This can lead to irritation and even infection of the gum. Additionally, biting down the popcorn can cause damage to the braces, such as breaking or loosening the brackets and wire.

If you can’t help yourself to not eat popcorn, we suggest you use hulless popcorn occasionally as it is more brace-friendly. However, you need to be cautious when eating popcorn with braces and always follow your orthodontist’s instructions on what foods to avoid with braces.


Getting braces is one of the best ways to improve overall dental health. However, it requires proper care, including avoiding certain types of foods that may damage the braces and maintaining good oral hygiene. By following these guidelines, you can make sure that your orthodontic journey goes smoothly.

Here, at York Orthodontics, we provide guidance on what foods to avoid with braces, so if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. Remember that damaging the braces can easily extend the treatment time, resulting in a longer period of time wearing braces.