What can I eat with braces?

Choosing braces treatment with Langford Orthodontics can improve your life in many ways, but like any new adventure, it also comes with quite a few changes! While most of these changes are fairly minor, some do take a bit of getting used to. The food restrictions that accompany traditional braces can actually be one of the biggest learning curves when it comes to this treatment option. Although they’re often a source of annoyance, especially in the beginning, avoiding certain types of food throughout the treatment process is necessary to protect both your braces and your teeth.

Our expert team works hard to provide you with a positive, stress-free orthodontic experience from your first appointment to your last. To help you get a handle on the dietary changes you may be facing, we’ve put together this quick list of braces-friendly food you can safely indulge in! We’ve also included a few of our favorite tips for getting you through your orthodontic journey. Let’s take a closer look to learn more!

Hang in there

It takes time and effort to improve your oral health and straighten your smile. Even though there will be times when it feels as though it’s taking forever, we promise this part is only temporary. Things will go much more smoothly if you can accept that you’ll have a few limitations while undergoing orthodontic treatment and follow all our recommendations. Before you know it, we’ll be removing your braces and revealing your beautiful new smile!

Healthy teeth = a healthier mouth

Oral care is important for everybody, whether you’re an orthodontic patient or not. But when you’re in braces, it becomes even more essential to take good care of your teeth and gums. You should have a good dental hygiene routine in place throughout treatment – and beyond.

We recommend brushing at least twice a day for two minutes each time, as well as flossing every night before bed. Taking care of your mouth doesn’t stop there, though! Ideally, you should be aiming for at least eight glasses of water daily and a diet that’s rich and varied in vitamins and minerals.

Langford assistant working on a patient's teeth

Foods it’s safe to emBRACE

Depending on what you typically choose to eat, you may not be sure what a diet like that would look like. No problem! Below you’ll find some of our favorite foods that are good for your body and your braces.


We all have days when nothing sounds good. Sometimes, eating just feels like a chore, and you may find this happens occasionally as a braces patient. If you’re experiencing any tenderness or swelling after an appointment, a smoothie can provide you with a quick blast of healthy vitamins and minerals. There’s a huge variety of fruits, vegetables, and other add-ons to choose from, so you’ll never be bored! The temperature and texture can be soothing for sore teeth, too.


Whether you enjoy it plain, Greek-style, or topped with fruit, honey, and granola, yogurt is an excellent choice for strengthening your teeth and improving your overall oral health. Yogurt is high in calcium and protein, and even contains a boost of beneficial bacteria. Just like smoothies, the texture can be soothing if your mouth is feeling sore. Be sure to brush your teeth afterwards, though, since even plain yogurt will contain naturally-occurring sugars.

Chicken noodle soup

This sick day staple is great for sore mouths, too. Not only does it nourish your body, it also gives your jaws and teeth a break from chewing. Chicken noodle is one of our perpetual favorites, since it’s packed with minerals, gelatin, and collagen, all of which work to build up strong teeth and bones. The protein and vitamins in a cup of chicken noodle soup can even speed up the rate at which you heal, which can be especially helpful if you’re experiencing any irritation or soreness in your mouth.

Sweet potatoes

These root vegetables are often relegated to the holiday table, but they’re a delicious addition to any meal. They contain keratin to help the tooth enamel form properly, and are full of vitamin A, which maintains the mucous membranes and soft tissue of the gums. However you prefer to eat them, sweet potatoes are healthy, filling, and still soft enough to eat even when your teeth and jaws are feeling tender.


During treatment, you may have days where putting any pressure at all on your teeth bothers you. This is more common immediately after your braces are put on or following an adjustment appointment. Even small pieces of beef, pork, or chicken may feel like too much work when you’re dealing with that kind of temporary soreness. But because it’s naturally soft and flaky, fish can be a fantastic alternative to tougher cuts of meat!

Fattier fish like tuna and salmon in particular are a great source of vitamin D. This can help your body absorb and use calcium more effectively. That’s a good thing when it comes to improving your overall oral health, since calcium protects the teeth and gums from disease.

Think ahead

The first few weeks you’re in braces tend to be the hardest. Once your gums and mouth have had time to get used to them, managing a new diet is, well, a piece of cake! Just remember to avoid anything too crunchy or too chewy. Things like nuts, chips, popcorn, some raw fruits and veggies, and certain types of candy can damage your braces and your teeth. It’s essential that you pay attention to what you’re eating, and stick to a good dental hygiene routine to keep your mouth clean and healthy.

You probably noticed us mentioned soreness, swelling, and tenderness several times above. Don’t let that intimidate you! You may find that your mouth feels slightly tender Immediately after your braces are put on, and sometimes following an adjustment, but this is only temporary. During this time, you may find it helpful to stick to softer foods, such as soups, shakes, mashed potatoes, pasta, rice, and applesauce. Frozen yogurt, popsicles, and ice cream are also great options when you need a little pick-me-up that won’t hurt your teeth. 

What Can I Eat With Braces? Dr. Langford talking to patients

Find your best smile with braces from Langford Orthodontics

It’s true that braces require a little bit of extra effort on your part, especially where food is involved. However, you’ll be surprised by how quickly the treatment process goes. Making these changes to your oral health will benefit not only your smile, but many other aspects of your life as well. Every one of them is worth the wait!

If you’re in Knoxville or the surrounding communities, we’d love to meet you and share more about how orthodontics can give you the smile you’ve always wanted. To take the first step towards your very best smile, get in touch with us today to schedule a complimentary consultation!