What Can I Eat With Braces?

Lifetime Orthodontics is happy to report that though you might need to change your diet while in treatment, modern technology allows the braces diet to be more expansive than ever. To answer the question, “What can I eat with braces?” keep reading! You might be surprised that you don’t have to remove as much as you think from your grocery list! As a trusted Clinton Township orthodontist, we’re here to guide you through your dietary changes during orthodontic treatment.

What Can I Eat With Metal Braces?

Your metal braces are made of a durable mix of metals, including stainless steel and nickel, and we use careful planning to ensure they are placed perfectly for minimal risk of divergence. Metal braces are fixed appliances that we glue to the teeth, and you cannot remove them. That means you must modify your diet and oral hygiene routine to accommodate the equipment in your mouth.


Unsuitable food can make your braces challenging to clean, increasing your risk of bad breath, tooth decay, gum disease, white spots on teeth, and other issues, which can negatively impact your experience and final results if left untreated. The wrong food can also cause your braces, to come loose from your teeth, making them uncomfortable and annoying until fixed, and also increasing your treatment time. 

Unsafe Foods

You will want to avoid anything hard, crunchy, tough, or sticky and will need to cut all your food into bite-sized pieces. Examples of foods to avoid: crunchy chips, popcorn, hard cookies, taffy, caramel, and other sticky food, hard candy, crunchy taco shells, ice cream cones, corn on the cob, whole apples and other hard fruits, gummies, crackers, beef jerky, ice, hard bread (toasted, grilled, et cetera), nuts, stringy vegetables like celery (the string can get caught in the braces), hard vegetables.

Safe foods

Foods you can eat include pasta, soft bread, oatmeal, soft seafood and soft boneless meats, french fries and mashed potatoes, rice, vegetables softened by boiling or steaming (but still no stringy vegetables), soft fruits like blueberries, strawberries, and bananas, hard fruits cut into thin, bite-sized pieces, soups, soft tortillas, casseroles, pies and cake, soft sandwiches, dairy products like smoothies, milkshakes, puddings, ice cream, yogurt, and soft cheeses, eggs, cookies that have been broken into bite-sized pieces and softened with milk, ADA approved sugar-free gum, and thin, small crackers, preferably softened by soup.

Remember to cut all your food into bite-sized pieces and chew with your back teeth to protect your front brackets!

Is It The Same For Clear Braces?

Clear braces are very similar to their previously mentioned ancestor. The difference is in the brackets! Instead of metal, clear braces use a ceramic mix. Don’t let the word ceramic fool you, however. These braces are still solid and durable! You will need to follow the same dietary guidelines as for metal braces, but you should be less lenient when considering your food options because ceramic brackets can chip.

Our clear brackets are stain-proof, but their matching ligatures could stain if you are not careful. You can avoid this by maintaining proper hygiene, rinsing your mouth with water after eating, and limiting your intake of stainable foods like coffee, tea, wine, or tomato-based products. Fortunately, we change your ligatures at every tightening appointment, so even if they become discolored, they won’t look that way for your entire treatment! 

Do Clear Aligners Have Restrictions, Too?

Invisalign clear aligners are transparent, removable trays that straighten the teeth by applying pressure. Unlike braces, once the custom trays are created, they cannot be adjusted, so you must go through a series of trays during treatment. You wear each set for roughly one to two weeks before advancing to the next, and each one is slightly different from the last. That’s how it encourages teeth shifting!

Because they are removable, clear aligners do not have the same dietary restrictions as their fixed alternatives. You do not have to adjust your diet or oral hygiene routine (except to clean the trays twice a day).

Like the tooth-colored ligatures, clear aligners can become discolored over time, but you shouldn’t worry since you switch the trays every couple of weeks. If maintaining their transparency is essential for you, we suggest you rinse your mouth with water after eating and avoid stainable items, just like you would with clear braces.

What Can I Eat With Braces?

Want To Know More About Braces And The Braces Diet? Visit Lifetime Orthodontics!

While the transition into braces might be challenging initially, we promise you’ll quickly get the hang of it! After a while, knowing what to eat will become second nature, and your cravings for “forbidden” foods will fade.

These lists are not all-inclusive because of the many variations of the food mentioned above. To learn if a food not on the list is safe, contact Lifetime Orthodontics. A helpful team member at our Clinton Township and Grosse Pointe offices would be happy to help!

If you are a new patient looking to start your orthodontic journey, you can schedule a free consultation with us today! Current patients who have questions about their care or need to schedule an appointment for repairs or adjustments can click here to call us!

We look forward to helping you improve your mental, physical, and oral health by transforming your smile. See you soon!