Eating with Braces: Foods to Avoid & Foods to Enjoy

Getting used to orthodontic treatment definitely comes with a learning curve, especially when it comes to eating with braces. Learning the foods to avoid and the foods to enjoy might seem stressful, but don’t worry! The Tilghman Orthodontics team is here to help make your new diet transition as smooth as possible. Keep reading to learn more!

Here’s Why a Modified Diet Is Important for Treatment

Maintaining a proper diet during orthodontic treatment may seem difficult, especially when it means giving up some of your favorite treats – but we promise we aren’t doing it to be mean! Following your orthodontist’s guidelines is super important for achieving the smile of your dreams for a few reasons. Here’s why:  

It Can Mean Fewer Additional Appointments

You may think that because braces are made of metal, they’re indestructible – but that’s a common misconception! Braces are still delicate appliances, and that means you need to be careful what you eat. Sticky or crunchy foods can damage the brackets holding the braces on your teeth. If you don’t follow Dr. Tilghman and Dr. Schwartz’s food recommendations, you could dislodge the brackets or bend the wires, which means you’ll have to come to our office for an extra visit to get them fixed. 

Prevent Longer Treatment Times

If you break or bend your braces, it could slow down your treatment process by up to two months per bracket. The broken parts won’t be able to work together to align your teeth, which means your braces won’t be as effective. To avoid this, stick to your dietary recommendations and steer clear of foods that could harm your braces. By doing so, you’ll help keep your braces in good condition and ensure that they continue to work towards achieving your end goal: a straight, beautiful smile.

New Braces = New Menu 

You may have to make some adjustments to your diet while you’re wearing braces, but don’t worry – it’s not all bad news! There are still plenty of delicious and healthy foods that you can enjoy without worrying about damaging your braces. Follow these guidelines for great results. 

Say Goodbye to These Foods (But Just for a While)

Dr. Tilghman and Dr. Schwartz recommend patients stay away from any crunchy, chewy, sticky, or hard foods during orthodontic treatment. You’ll also want to avoid any foods you have to bite directly into, like corn on the cob, ribs, or chicken wings, as these foods put too much pressure on your braces and may cause them to break from your teeth. Here are some examples of foods that are a no-go for braces wearers: 

  • Crunchy foods, like popcorn, ice, or chips
  • Chewy foods, like licorice or bagels
  • Sticky foods, like taffy or caramel
  • Hard food, like pretzels or nuts, and raw veggies

It might feel like a challenge avoiding so many of your favorite foods, but remember: it’s not forever, and it will get easier over time! Once you see your straight smile in the mirror, it will all be worth it. 

Say Hello to These New Menu Items!

There are lots of foods that you can eat while getting your teeth straightened, and some of your favorite foods might be on the list! The general rule is that the softer the food, the better it is for your braces because you want to apply as little pressure as possible to your brackets and wires to avoid breaking them. Here are some foods that you can enjoy while undergoing orthodontic treatment at Tilghman Orthodontics:

  • Pasta (hooray!)
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Oatmeal
  • Rice
  • Soft pretzels
  • Seafood
  • Soups
  • Soft vegetables
  • Soft cheese
  • Eggs
  • Yogurt
  • Pudding
  • Applesauce
  • Bananas
  • Ice cream

Many of these soft, braces-friendly foods can also be eaten after your appointment to help reduce any discomfort. 

Tip: If you really love foods like chicken wings or corn on the cob, you don’t have to give them up completely! Instead of biting into them directly, try pulling the meat off the bone or cutting your food into smaller pieces to avoid damaging your braces.

Try This Braces-Friendly Smoothie Recipe!

Who doesn’t love pasta? This creamy avocado pasta recipe packs the flavor to keep your braces nice and safe and your belly happy and full!


  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 oz spaghetti or other pasta of your choice


  1. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions until al dente.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, prepare the sauce by scooping out the avocado flesh and mashing it in a bowl with a fork.
  3. Add the minced garlic, chopped basil and parsley leaves, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper to the mashed avocado and mix well.
  4. Drain the cooked pasta and toss with the avocado sauce until well coated.
  5. Serve immediately and enjoy your delicious and braces-friendly pasta dish!

Try it out, and be sure to let us know how you like it! 

Tilghman Orthodontics: Straight Smiles for All

At Tilghman Orthodontics, we believe everyone deserves the confidence that comes with a straight smile. We offer a wide range of orthodontic treatment options to patients of all ages in Salisbury or Berlin, and we’re here for your smile, too! If you haven’t started treatment yet, schedule your free consultation with our team of experts today!