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What You Can and Cannot Eat With Braces & Invisalign

By June 8, 2020July 22nd, 2022Orthodontics

Starting treatment with braces or Invisalign can bring up a lot of different emotions for the patients at The Brace Place. While they’re mostly excited to see their brand new smile take shape, it can also take time to adjust to life with braces or Invisalign. One of the most important changes? Memorizing the list of foods you can’t eat with braces or Invisalign.

If you’re new to Invisalign or braces, this might sound familiar. Your Claremore or Tulsa orthodontist probably even gave you a handy print-out to help you remember exactly what foods to avoid with braces or Invisalign. But don’t worry: with a little patience and extra care, you’ll be a pro at eating safely for your new hardware. And if you ever need a quick crash course in what to eat with braces, we’ve got your back. Read on for the ultimate list of foods to eat with orthodontic treatment.

Foods to Avoid with Braces or Invisalign

Let’s get the not-so-fun part out of the way, shall we? As you already know, there are certain foods you have to avoid with braces. It’s not because we want you to be miserable during treatment — it’s because we want you to get the most from your treatment so you can enjoy your new smile as soon as possible. Unfortunately, though, some types of foods (like hard candies or crunchy popcorn) have the potential to break your brackets and wires. That means more visits to your Tulsa and Claremore orthodontist and delays in your treatment time. Nobody wants that!

Now, when it comes to eating with braces, there are a few hard-and-fast rules to keep in mind: no hard, crunchy, sticky or chewy foods, or foods you have to bite into. You should also avoid sugary foods and drinks because it’s trickier to brush and floss the bad stuff away when you have braces. As long as you stay away from those items, pretty much everything else is fair game. To help you stay on track, here’s a list of common foods to avoid with braces:

  • Bagels
  • Pizza crust
  • Chips
  • Hard taco shells
  • Nuts
  • Chewing gum
  • Licorice
  • Jerky
  • Hard candies
  • Popcorn
  • Caramel
  • Anything you have to bite into, like apples, carrots or corn on the cob

Invisalign wearers, we haven’t forgotten about you. And you’re in luck! Since your aligners are removable, you can eat all of your usual favorites just like you did before you started treatment. Just be sure to brush and floss your teeth before you pop you aligners back in.

What to Eat with Braces or Invisalign

We know it seems like there are a lot of foods to avoid with braces. But the good news is that there’s so much more you can still enjoy! That said, your teeth will likely be a little extra sensitive when you first start treatment (and each time you get your brackets tightened), so soft, cold foods will be more manageable than anything dense or hot. At least, until the sensitivity dies down in a few days and you’re back to your regular self.

In the early stages of braces, or after you get your braces tightened, we recommend foods like smoothies, yogurt, applesauce, oatmeal, soups, scrambled eggs and, yep, ice cream and milkshakes. Once you feel ready to eat more solid foods, try rice, steamed veggies, tofu, fish, avocados, or soft breads like pancakes or waffles. The list of foods you can eat with braces is endless! Just be smart, eat small bites, and remember to avoid anything that’s hard, crunchy, sticky or chewy.

Here’s a full rundown of foods that are safe for braces:

  • Yogurt
  • Pudding
  • Soft cheeses
  • Milkshakes
  • Smoothies
  • Ice cream and ice cream bars (as long as they don’t contain nuts, caramel or any other hard, crunchy, sticky or chewy ingredients)
  • Gelato and sorbet
  • Pasta and noodles
  • Rice
  • Quinoa
  • Polenta
  • Couscous
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Tofu
  • Tempeh
  • Beans
  • Soups and stews
  • Oatmeal
  • Pancakes
  • Hummus
  • Steamed, cooked or roasted veggies
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Soft fruits, like bananas or cantaloupe
  • Applesauce
  • Jell-O

Does that make you feel better about what you can eat during treatment? We hope so! As for our Invisalign patients, you can enjoy all of the above as well. Just take your aligners out and store them in their special case while you eat, and put them back in right after you’ve brushed and flossed.

Now that you’re well-versed in foods that are safe for braces (and foods that aren’t), we hope you’re feeling confident about taking care of your hardware. Any time you feel tempted to eat those crunchy pretzels or chewy candies, remember this: the better you are at following the “rules” for orthodontic treatment, the sooner you’ll be braces- or Invisalign-free. So follow your orthodontist’s recommendations, avoid the foods that could damage your braces, and brush and floss carefully after every meal. And if you ever have questions, give The Brace Place a call. We’re here to help you enjoy your treatment to the fullest.