Foods to Avoid with Braces

Town Center Dentistry in Rancho Bernardo has dental orthodontic experts in San Diego. We break down the foods to avoid with braces and orthodontics.

When have braces, your life does have to change a little bit. Sticky, crunchy, and hard foods are all off-limits when you have braces because they can either damage your braces or get stuck between them, putting you at risk for tooth decay. Unfortunately, this means you may have to give up some of your favorite foods. At Town Center Dentistry, our patients report that it’s difficult at first, but that it does get easier as time goes on.

And if you think popcorn gets stuck between your teeth without braces, just wait to see what happens when you break the rules and eat it with braces. Our guess is that may be the last time you try it.

Take a look below at these foods to avoid with braces. And don’t worry. Although the list is longish, you won’t go hungry. At the end, we’ve added some foods that you can eat.

Foods to avoid with braces

Sticky foods can get caught between the brackets and wires and cause tooth decay. Avoid sticky foods such as:

  • Gum
  • Licorice
  • Tootsie Rolls
  • Caramels
  • Jelly beans
  • Starburst
  • Dried fruits
  • Peanut butter and jelly
  • Hard or sticky chocolate
  • Popcorn (not particularly sticky, but it does get stuck)

Chewing hard foods can break or damage your wires and brackets. They may even knock them off. Avoid hard foods such as:

  • Pizza crust
  • Hard rolls
  • Bagels
  • French bread
  • Sub sandwiches
  • Nuts
  • Chips
  • Raw vegetables
  • Corn on the cob
  • Apples
  • Celery
  • Beef jerky
  • Hard cookies or crackers
  • Ice

That’s a pretty long list, isn’t it? Trust us, there are still plenty of foods left that you can eat.

Foods you can eat with braces


  • String cheese
  • Pudding
  • Yogurt
  • Milkshakes
  • Ice cream (without nuts)


  • Pasta
  • Soft-cooked rice
  • Soft, seedless breads

Meats and seafood

  • Meatballs
  • Meatloaf
  • Soft-cooked chicken
  • Lunch meats
  • Tuna
  • Salmon
  • Crab cakes


  • Mashed potatoes
  • Steamed spinach
  • Other soft-cooked vegetables

Fruits and sweets

  • Applesauce
  • Bananas
  • Soft, ripe melons
  • Jell-O
  • Soft cake

Remember, your braces are temporary.  If you take good care of them and avoid the foods that damage them, you’ll limit the number of times you have to come in and see us for fixes. It may not be fun to have braces, but when it’s all over, you’ll be proud of how well you took care of your beautiful smile!

At Town Center Dentistry in Rancho Bernardo, we have an orthodontist on site!

Our on-site orthodontist Dr. Gary Sanner has more than 29 years of experience in the field of orthodontia. Not only is he skilled and professional, he’s also patient and compassionate. If you or your child is in need of braces, come see us. Dr. Sanner and the rest of us here at Town Center Dentistry will take good care of you and your smile.