The Complete Guide to Food & Braces [2022 Updated]

The Complete Guide to Food & Braces [2022 Updated]

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  • Post last modified:19 January 2022
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If you’ve just had your new braces fitted, it can feel like a bit of a mine field with what you can and can’t eat, especially when it’s holiday season and food consumption tends to go into overdrive. Don’t worry you’re not going to starve, because this handy guide will help you identify foods you can safely eat.

Christmas Foods You Can Enjoy

As always the standard rules apply when thinking about foods you can and can’t eat, which means that these foods are safe for you to eat.

Christmas Ham

Ham is a traditional meat to enjoy during Christmas and there is always a lot left over in January. It’s safer for people with braces because the consistency of the meat isn’t tough or stringy which means it’s unlikely to get stuck in your brackets or wires.

Christmas ham recipes | BBC Good Food

Christmas Turkey or Chicken

Turkey and Chicken are definitely preferable to meats than steak because they tend not to be as chewy which can lead to the braces popping off or loosen wires in your mouth.

However the texture of poultry does tend to be more stringy and fibrous so take extra care to cut pieces smaller before eating to minimise any issues.


Of course liquids don’t pose much of a challenge with braces, so you can slather on as much gravy as you like!

Mashed Potato

Creamy Buttery Mashed Potato | RecipeTin Eats
Credit Recipe tin

Mashed potatoes are a great alternative during Christmas and a real treat with lashings of butter and/or gravy!


Stuffing is perfectly fine to enjoy over the holidays because it’s not chewy, or sticky and won’t cause damage to your braces.

Roast Vegetables

Roast vegetables are generally ok because they’re quite soft when they come out of the oven.

Roast vegetables are generally ok because they’re quite soft when they come out of the oven.

However take extra caution with vegetables like carrots and parsnips because they could be harder than you expect which could in turn bend wires and break brackets. Another thing to think of is the edges of the vegetables or meat that may get burned in the oven. Even though they are the yummiest part, your braces may not like that crunchiness so be careful.


Prawn meat is generally quite soft if you’re enjoying them fresh or from the BBQ which means they should be fairly low risk if you’re in the middle of braces treatment.


Pavlova is a delicious dessert this time of the year. It is ideally nice and soft so should be perfectly fine with your braces.

Just make sure you brush your teeth afterwards to clean away all that residual sugar!

Christmas Foods To Stay Away From

There are a few Christmas foods which are a hard “no” when it comes to what you can safely eat over the holiday period.

Pork Crackling

It wouldn’t be crackling if it wasn’t hard and crunchy. Unfortunately that is a massive risk if you’re wearing braces. Munching into pork crackle will almost certainly lead to disaster for your braces.

Christmas Pudding

As sad as it might seem, Christmas pudding is most likely something you should avoid. This is mostly due to the presence of raisins, sultanas which are chewy and get caught up in your braces, or worst case, dislodge wires.

Do yourself a favour and have some more pavlova to make up for it!


Steak is definitely off the list. Even the most tender cut of eye fillet can cause tricky issues with your braces.

Chewing meats like steak can bend wires or dislodge brackets.

Chocolate Coated Nuts

Nuts are generally a bad idea when you’re wearing braces, and it’s no different if they’re coated in chocolate. The hard texture of nuts (with or without chocolate) can break appliances in your mouth and require more time in the orthodontist chair.

Candy Canes

Candy canes are basically the feeling of Christmas in food form. Unfortunately if you’re in the middle of orthodontic treatment, then you can NEVER eat something like a candy cane, or any other kind of hard candy.

You will almost certainly cause some kind of damage to your braces so avoid at all costs!

After the holiday season you might be thinking…

“Ok I got through Christmas and New Year’s with no challenges with my braces, what’s next?”

Well, if you’re after some general advice on food which you can or can’t eat (and some handy alternatives) read on…

Can I eat chocolate with braces?

Chocolate shouldn’t be a problem when it comes to your because chocolate generally isn’t very hard and shouldn’t break the brace off or wires when chewing. Be mindful however of the amount of sugar and make sure you’re brushing regularly to avoid tooth decay.

Chocolate alternatives

If you’re looking for a sweet option which is less likely to cause tooth decay, then try berries, bananas, or stewed apples. You can blend it together and enjoy it as a delicious smoothie.

Can I eat apples with braces?

It’s ok to eat apples as long as you cut them into small pieces first. The main risk with apples is biting into a whole apple which is hard and highly likely to pop off a brace. Of course you could always stew the apples so they’re nice and soft too.

Apple alternatives

If you really want to have your apple fix, you can try stewing them so they’re nice and soft and won’t damage the wires or brackets. Otherwise you could try something like mango which is much softer than raw apple.

Can I eat lollies with braces?

Lollies are a very high risk item and not just because they’re full of sugar. If the confectionary you’re contemplating is hard, soft, sticky, or chewy then it’s highly likely to cause a brace to break off or snap a wire.

Lolly alternatives

There are several sweet treats which you can enjoy which are still satisfying for your sweet tooth, without the risk.

Try swapping hard/chewy lollies for a delicious carrot cake, or soft baked cookies instead.

Can I eat peanuts with braces?

No. Due to their hard texture they are likely to cause a brace to break off.

Peanut alternatives

Peanut butter is a great alternative to raw peanuts because it gives you the peanut flavour, in a way which won’t damage your braces.

Can I eat ice with braces?

As with eating peanuts, biting down on whole ice cubes should be avoided since it’s likely to cause a brace to break off.

Ice alternatives

If you’re looking for something cool to enjoy then try ice cream, sorbet, or yogurt instead.

Can I eat popcorn with braces?

Eating popcorn should definitely be avoided. The hard kernels can damage your braces, and small pieces can get stick in between the brackets and wires and be extremely difficult to clean.

Popcorn alternatives

If you’re looking for similar savoury snacks then try rice crackers, rice cakes and other biscuits or crackers which are soft to bite into.

Can I drink soft drink / soda with braces?

Sugary drinks should be avoided not because of the damage to your braces, but the volume of sugar makes tooth decay highly likely. Unless you’re prepared to thoroughly clean your teeth after drinking it, then you should avoid it.

Sift drink / soda alternatives

Fruit smoothies or vegetable juices can be delicious alternatives to soda. You can also try green tea or milkshakes too.

Can I eat cereal with braces?

As long as the cereal isn’t hard or crunchy it should be ok. Corn flakes or wheet-bix would be ok, but something like granola would not.

Cereal alternatives

There are plenty of cereals which don’t have hard, crunchy, chewy pieces in them. Corn flakes, rice bubbles, Wheaties are all soft and get softer if you’re adding milk to them.

Can I eat bread with braces?

Bread, pancakes and muffins would all be ok to eat with braces so long as they don’t contain things like nuts which increase the risk of breakages.

Can I chew chewing gum with braces?

Chewing gum should be avoided completely. It will definitely get stuck within the brackets and wires.

Can I eat rice with braces?

Eating rice is ok with braces because it will be soft from cooking, however as with all foods you’ll need to clean your teeth thoroughly after.

Can I eat steak with braces?

Steak is a challenging food for people with braces because it is fibrous and likely to get caught within your braces. If you must try to cut pieces down very small so they require less chewing to minimize the risk.

Steak alternatives

Try soft cooked chicken, meatballs or other minced meat which is easy to bit into and requires minimal chewing.

Can I eat oranges, or citrus fruits with braces?

Citrus fruits in general are more risky for people with braces because the fruit fibers can get caught around the braces and require thorough cleaning afterwards.

Citrus fruit alternatives

Instead of citrus fruits, try bananas, berries, or if you must have citrus fruit, then make a juice instead and minimize consumption of the pulp.