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20 Foods to Avoid With Braces — And What You Can Eat Instead

Simon Frers
Simon Frers
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Are you curious to know what can't you eat with braces? Is eating steak still an option? What about pizza, or chewing gum? And what foods do you avoid entirely when having braces?

Will you be eating only soft foods for the next two years?

It turns out it's not all that bad. Although the first few weeks, your mouth may be tender, thereafter, you can still eat a wide variety of foods while wearing dental braces.

What foods to stay away from when having braces?

Some foods to avoid during your orthodontic treatment are nuts, meat on the bones, beef jerkey, candy bars, hard crackers, and other crispy, sticky or crunchy foods. Read our list of the Top 20 foods to avoid with braces below in this article.

If you want to be able to eat anything you want during your orthodontic treatment, consider switching to removable invisible aligners. We recommend those from Smile White. They treat 90% of cases, and you'll get free whitening and retainers worth £790.

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What foods can you not eat with braces?

what foods can you not eat with braces
Learn more about braces food restrictions

Brackets and wires might be damaged by certain foods. That's why there are some types of food to avoid with braces. It's crucial to stay away from really hard or sticky foods.

In addition to knowing what type of foods not to eat with braces, maintaining adequate hygiene is critical to preventing stains and cavities from forming around the brackets and wires. If food debris is not completely removed from the teeth and braces, tartar and plaque may build up, causing white spots on the surfaces of your teeth.

20 foods to avoid with braces

1. Crisps: This food causes a gummy material to form on the braces.

2. Raw celery or carrots: Instead, cook these foods to make them safer to eat.

3. Nuts: Hard nuts such as almonds, walnuts, and cashews can damage braces.

4. Crunchy peanut butter: The crunchy variety is a no-go, but the creamy version can be eaten with braces.

5. Caramel and toffee sweets: This type of sweet is excessively sticky and hard to bite.

6. Pizza: Thin crust pizzas are quite easy to chew, but thick crust pizzas might be risky.

7. Meat on the bones: Eating any meat from the bones should be avoided.

8. Hard crackers or biscuits: Brackets and wires are at risk of being damaged.

9. Popcorn: Brackets and wires may be damaged by the hard kernels.

List of foods you can't eat with braces
What can I not eat with braces?

10. Fibrous vegetables: Vegetables like celery have the tendency to wrap around the wires.

11. Bagels & pretzels: Your braces may be damaged by this hard, chewy snack.

12. Raw fruit: When eating fruit, take it slowly and in little bites.

13. Corn on the cob: The corn can instead be sliced off the cob.

14. Meat that is tough or chewy: Beef, pork, and chicken can be damaging for braces. Try ground meats or shredded meats as an alternative.

15. Corn chips: Another crunchy snack you should avoid.

16. Marshmallows: They will stick to your braces and teeth.

17. Hard taco shells: Instead, go for the soft tortillas.

18. Candy bars: Most candy bars are too hard and sticky.

19. Fudge: Your braces may be damaged by nuts.

20. Beef jerky: Be careful. Tough jerky can easily loosen wires and brackets.

While wearing braces, you may also avoid foods and liquids that might stain your teeth, such as coffee, tea, and dark sodas.

Watch this video to learn what not to eat with braces, and how you still can enjoy your favourite foods.

5 foods you CAN eat while wearing braces

If you’re researching what things you can’t eat with braces, then you might also be wondering what foods are the best and safest to eat while wearing braces. Don't forget to take a look at our complete article on soft foods for braces.

1. Dairy

Yoghurt is rich in probiotics and, in certain situations may supplement your diet with much-needed protein. It's easy to eat and doesn't damage your braces at all.

2. Soft fruits

There are many foods you can’t eat with braces, including hard fruits. However, grapefruits, nectarines, kiwis, avocados, ripe peaches, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and a variety of other fruits and softer greens are all good for your braces.

3. Soft veggies

If at all possible, steam your veggies. If you're on a raw vegetable diet, it may take some getting used to, but avoiding hard foods like carrots or even celery is healthier for your dental investment.

braces foods to avoid
Aside from the list of things you can't eat with braces – What can you eat instead?

4. Soft meats

It's easier for your teeth to eat tender, roasted chicken than it is to eat a well-done steak. Tender turkey and meatloaf are also good. Soft meat, fish, and some varieties of sushi may all be great meal options.

5. Desserts

There are a lot of things you can eat with braces, but you may reward yourself by eating mousse, ice cream, frozen yoghurt, applesauce, smoothies, and a variety of other soft foods. We don't think we'll have to twist your arm too much on this one.

However, brush your teeth between meals and rinse after snacks, particularly those that are high in sugar. When it comes to rewarding yourself, it's important to maintain your dental health. Learn tips for how to brush teeth with braces.


There are many foods you can’t eat with braces, and you should stay away from any hard or sticky food. However, there are many alternatives. Even with braces, you still can enjoy delicious foods! You just need to become a bit creative and choose your food wisely.

When having braces, remember it's important to brush or floss your teeth carefully after every meal. Just remember to firstly follow specific directions from your dentist or orthodontist. They may have advice tailored to your particular treatment plan.

We hope that some of this information is useful. In some aspects, braces may be a chore, but the long-term benefits are worth it.

Foods you can eat with braces

What not to eat with braces

  • Bread: pancakes, soft tortillas, muffins without nuts

  • Vegetables: beans, mashed potatoes, spinach

  • Fruits: bananas, fruit juice, other soft fruits

  • Dairy: pudding, milk-based drinks, soft cheese

  • Grains: soft cooked rice, pasta

  • Seafood: tuna, salmon

  • Meats: lunch meats, soft cooked chicken, meatballs

  • Treats: ice cream, milkshakes, soft cake

  • Crunchy foods like popcorn, and crisps

  • Bagels, licorice, and other chewy foods

  • Sticky foods like caramel sweets

  • Hard foods like nuts, and hard sweets

  • Corn on the cob, apples, carrots, and other foods that require you to bite into them


What can't you eat when you have braces?

When you first get your braces you will probably want to avoid foods that are hard, crunchy or chewy. The longer you have your braces you may find some foods become easier to eat. However, other foods such as chewy or sticky foods you will need to avoid until you have your braces removed.

Can you eat crisps with braces?

If you eat hard crisps like Doritos and taco shells, you might knock brackets and wires off. If you must have crisps, choose softer ones such as baked crisps or Pringles.

Can you eat pizza with braces?

It depends on the sort of pizza. Soft-crust pizza is the best option. Tougher or thinner crusts might cause harm to your braces by getting stuck between the wires, brackets, and teeth.

Can you eat cereal with braces?

You can't eat crunchy cereals like granola with braces. It's too hard, and you run the risk of breaking wires or dislodging brackets. Look for softer cereals or other soft foods for breakfast.

Can you eat burgers with braces?

Yes, you can, when choosing soft toppings. Try to avoid biting into the burger with your front teeth; this can break the brackets and wires. Try to cut it or eat it without the bun.

Can you eat steak with braces?

Avoid tough steaks and any other meals that will be difficult to chew and require a lot of power from your jaw. You should avoid putting too much pressure on your braces.

Can you eat doughnuts with braces?

Doughnuts are soft and easy to eat, but they include sugar and white flour, which adhere to your teeth, wires, and brackets. Make sure to brush and floss carefully after eating.

Can you eat crackers with braces?

Soft crackers are perfectly fine to eat with braces. However, be mindful of hard crackers as they can damage the braces' wires and brackets. Always choose the softer option.

Can you eat peanuts with braces?

Peanuts and other nuts are foods you can't eat with braces. Peanuts, cashews, almonds, and pistachios are not only difficult to eat but may also become trapped in your braces.

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20 Foods to Avoid With Braces — And What You Can Eat Instead
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Sources Foods you can't eat with braces. Consulted 9th June 2023. List of foods to avoid with braces. Consulted 9th June 2023.