Everybody eats and it’s usually three to five times per day. Since eating is something you do so often, it only makes sense that you take eating into consideration for your orthodontic treatment. With Thanksgiving and other holidays on the horizon, you don’t want to miss out on your favorite dishes if your orthodontic treatment won’t allow it. To help you choose the best orthodontic treatment for you, we’ve compiled a list of everything you need to know about eating with different types of braces.

What to Avoid Eating During the Start of Your Orthodontic Treatment

When you first get your orthodontic treatment, your mouth might feel a little bit sore which means eating tougher or crunchier foods might cause you a bit of pain. Our first piece of advice is to stick to soft foods while your jaw is still sore. It might also feel sore after switching aligners or after tightening appointments. In these cases, we recommend sticking with these guidelines.

Try eating soft foods such as soups, yogurt, mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs, soft cheeses, pasta, and moist desserts to keep pain to a minimum. You should also avoid eating spicy or citrus foods, thick bread or meat, or ice cream because your teeth might feel sensitive and your mouth can feel irritated. Eating those foods will only make matters worse. 

Traditional Metal Braces

The most common type of orthodontic treatment is traditional metal braces. If you know anything about metal braces it is that you’ve likely heard someone you know complaining that they can’t eat something while wearing them. Unfortunately, that’s the case. For some patients, traditional metal braces or clear braces are their only option because their case is too severe. With traditional metal braces comes a few eating limitations.

Along with eating soft foods after you get your braces on, you should also avoid a handful of other food items for the entire duration of your treatment. These foods can break your brackets and ultimately make your treatment longer and more stressful. To avoid an emergency bracket replacement, avoid eating: 

  • Popcorn 
  • Nuts 
  • Hard candy 
  • Gum  
  • Ice 
  • Bagels and other hard bread 
  • Crunchy fruit and veggies 
  • Hard pretzels 
  • Kettle chips 
  • Hard crackers 
  • Chewy candy 

Not only will these foods potentially break your brackets, but they can also get stuck in them. Brushing and flossing your teeth with braces will already feel difficult and eating one of these foods will only make matters worse. Do yourself a favor and follow these eating tips if you opt for traditional metal braces.

Clear Braces

If you didn’t want the appearance of metal braces and opted for clear braces instead, you’re going to follow the same instructions as eating with metal braces and a few more. Clear braces can actually stain and look yellow if you eat certain foods. We recommend avoiding coffee, tea, wine, berries, and large amounts of chocolate. If you do consume these foods, make sure to brush your teeth immediately afterward to avoid staining. Although you don’t eat tobacco, you should also avoid smoking or chewing tobacco to avoid stains and other health problems.  


When it comes to Invisalign aligners, you won’t have too many eating restrictions. The only real requirement is that you don’t eat while wearing your aligners. If you want to eat or drink anything besides water, you need to remove your clear aligners from your mouth. Once they’re removed, you can eat or drink anything you want! Just make sure to brush your teeth before popping your aligners back in.  

DNA Appliance

If wearing a DNA appliance is part of your orthodontic treatment to expand your jaw, you won’t have to adjust your eating habits too much. The DNA appliance is completely removable which means you can remove it to eat all of your snacks and meals throughout the day. Just make sure to brush your teeth before you put the DNA appliance back in! 

With this new knowledge, we hope you can find an orthodontic treatment that doesn’t interrupt your lifestyle too much and still allows you to achieve the best results possible. If you’re ready to learn more about the best orthodontic treatment for you, please contact our dental office in San Jose today at (408) 354-5600 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Nehawandian.