I’ve had my lovely adult braces in for four months now, so it seems like time to share what I’ve learned about food for braces. I read a lot before I had them put in about what not to eat, but I didn’t read a lot about what I could eat. There wasn’t much explanation of the logic behind it, either.
So, here’s what I’ve learned. I’ve put together some meal plans and ideas that you can follow yourself if you’re having braces put in – whether you’re an adult or a teen. Everything is, of course, veggie-friendly, so dive in!
Food for Braces After Fitting
This is the most tricky part of the process. After you get your braces put on, you’ll want to rip your entire jaw off and throw it away for about a week. I had my top braces put on first and then the lower braces put on two months later when the top ones were tightened. If I thought the first time was bad, boy, was I in for a shock.
Both fitting the braces in the first place and tightening them will give you massive jaw ache. You’ll feel like you can’t move your mouth, but you also can’t keep it still. You can’t bite down on anything because everything is so tender. You might be able to chew with your back teeth, after the braces end, but anything else is out of the question.
So, for breakfast, you will want something soft and easy to swallow. I had a yoghurt, or I also had one of my normal breakfast bars broken up by hand into tiny pieces that didn’t need much work.
For lunch, the softer the better again. I managed sandwiches, but again I had to break them up into smaller pieces. You don’t want to have to break off anything with your front teeth and your back teeth won’t be up for a sideways bite either. Cut everything into literal bitesize portions.
For dinner, it has to be soup. The good news is that we have a lot of great soup recipes hanging around. Try these:
- Bread bowl soup (the only way to eat crusty bread for now will be to really soak it and soften it in the soup!)
- Festive Carrot Soup or Carrot and Coriander Soup
- French Onion Soup
Food for Braces Once Settled
Once your teeth are a bit more used to the braces, you will find it much easier to work with them. But there are a few things you should avoid:
- Very chewy food like toffee or gum, which may stick to or bend your braces
- Anything that you find difficult to bite into – use your sense here and don’t carry on trying!
- Ice – it might freeze your mouth and ease the pain, but for god’s sake don’t bite into it
- Apples – don’t try to bite into them as the skin is very difficult to bite into with your braces on
- Corn on the cob – just nope
Here are some things you should break up before trying to eat them:
- Hard foods: a chunk of chocolate,
- Soft but large cooked vegetables like sweet potato – large chunks can get stuck in your braces or bend them
- Any raw vegetables
- Chewy or crusty bread – be super careful with hard crusts, and perhaps cut them off
- Fruit other than apples
- Pizza, particularly the crust – but you may not be able to rip and tear slices with your teeth if you don’t cut the whole pizza up
- Burgers – sad times, but I’ve been having to cut up my burgers because it’s difficult to bite into them
And some items you’ve been warned off, but you should use your discretion on:
- Popcorn – best eaten by melting on the tongue and then swallowing what remains
- Crisps, tortillas, nachos – be very careful how you chew; don’t let hard corners get stuck in your braces and chew only at the back
- Nuts – better when broken into smaller pieces but very difficult to eat, so be VERY careful about which teeth you use and avoid hitting your wires
And finally, some recipes you can eat which you might like to try for a pain-free meal:
- Doenjang jjigae (soft Korean soup)
- Anything made in a slow cooker, as all the ingredients will be softened up
- Pear French toasts
- Mushroom and gravy pie without pastry
- Savoury pancakes with cheesy beans
- Chinese spaghetti
- Homemade gnocchi in homemade pesto
Any questions about life with braces or food for braces beyond what is covered here? Go ahead and comment below – I’m happy to help!