At Ollins Orthodontics, we are always looking for better ways to support our patients and their families. One of the things we hear often are questions about what to eat and what not to eat while wearing braces. It can take a bit of practice to get the hang of it, but eating with braces will quickly become a normal part of your routine. And the best part is that it doesn’t last forever! After a year or two, you’ll be able to enjoy eating all your favorite foods with a straight smile to boot!

If you or your child are learning how to eat with braces, then follow along for some of our best suggestions for what you should include in a healthy diet with braces and what to leave behind. 

How to Eat When Braces First Come On

One thing that some people don’t realize is that when braces first come on, your teeth and mouth can be sore for a few days. Even after getting adjustments every few weeks, you could experience some tenderness and sensitivity. It’s good to know about this in advance so you can plan for groceries that will require less chewing. You can rotate cold and heat compresses to your face and jaw to help with pain, and take the prescribed amount of aspirin. 

Dr. Bruce and Gabriel Ollins recommend foods that are not too hot or too cold and focus on soups, smoothies, oatmeal, scrambled eggs, mashed potatoes, bananas, berries, yogurt, and other foods like this for the first few days. You should notice the soreness disappearing quickly, and you can begin to incorporate more foods into your diet very soon!  

What Foods To Avoid During Treatment

While we typically like to think about all the things you can do with braces, sometimes it is important to talk about what you can’t do in order to keep your smile safe. In general, we discourage our patients from eating really hard, crunchy, or sticky foods that can break or pull out brackets and wires. 

It’s almost important to be mindful of sugar and other foods that can grow plaque or get stuck in hard-to-reach places. Cleaning your teeth is more difficult when braces are on, so you want to ensure that you don’t overdo it with food that could damage your smile unexpectedly. This means avoiding hard and sticky candy like caramel or taffy, popcorn and chips, hard fruits and veggies, ice, and gum. Cut up chewy cuts of meat or breads like bagels and pizza crusts into bite-sized pieces. 

The Best Foods For a Healthy Smile

Now that we’ve talked about the things you shouldn’t eat, we can now focus on all the things you can! There are so many nutritious and delicious foods that fit into a braces diet, and there are even more things that you can explore. Here are a few of the common foods and categories we recommend for a balanced diet with braces.

Breads and Grains:

  • Mac and cheese
  • Rice
  • Muffins and pastries
  • Cereals
  • Pancakes and waffles
  • Oatmeal


  • Milk
  • Cottage cheese and other soft cheeses
  • Ice cream
  • Pudding
  • Yogurt

Fruits and Vegetables:

  • Cooked beans
  • Steamed veggies
  • Applesauce
  • Bananas
  • Watermelon
  • Grapes


  • Meatloaf
  • Lunchmeat
  • Fish
  • Shredded chicken
  • Eggs


  • Casseroles
  • Grilled cheese
  • Soups and stews
  • Jello

And this is only the beginning! Talk to our team at Ollins Orthodontics if you have any questions or concerns along the way, as we can help you determine which things are safe to eat!

Think About Your Drinks

When it comes to enjoying drinks, the main rule is to avoid too much sugar and acid. That means sodas, juices, sports drinks, and energy drinks. As we said before, sugar can coat the teeth and encourage the growth of plaque that is difficult to remove with brackets on. And the acid in energy drinks can erode the metal or ceramic of your braces! Enjoy beverages in moderation, and keep your teeth clean with twice daily brushing and flossing to reduce any negative impacts. 

Don’t Forget the Sweets!

While we will always recommend sweets in moderation, there’s no reason you shouldn’t enjoy your favorite treats every once in a while! As long as you avoid sticky and crunchy things like peanut brittle, nuts, caramel, taffy, and gum, you can enjoy most things. We’re talking peanut butter cups, marshmallows, brownies, cookies, cake, pastries, and so much more! 

What Can I Eat With Braces

Let Our Team Help You Thrive! 

If you are ready for the beautiful, straight grin you’ve always dreamed of, then now is the time to call Ollins Orthodontics in Nutley, New Jersey! Our team of dedicated doctors, hygienists, and office staff are ready to add you to the amazing group of patients who have healthy smiles that they love. Give us a call today to learn more about a free consultation appointment!