Can you eat broccoli while having braces?

Quick Answer

Yes, you can absolutely eat broccoli while wearing braces. Broccoli is an excellent vegetable choice for people with braces because it is low in sugar and won’t easily get stuck in the brackets. Just be sure to thoroughly chew broccoli until it’s very soft before swallowing. Some tips for eating broccoli with braces include:

– Chop broccoli into very small pieces or mash it before eating
– Cook broccoli until very soft – steaming, boiling, or roasting it
– Avoid raw broccoli as it can be hard to chew
– Use a fluoridated mouthwash after eating to help prevent white spot lesions

Can You Eat Raw Broccoli with Braces?

It’s generally not recommended to eat raw broccoli while wearing braces. Raw broccoli is very fibrous and crunchy, which can be difficult to fully chew with braces on your teeth. Attempting to bite off and chew chunks of raw broccoli puts you at risk for:

– Getting broccoli stuck in your brackets or wedged between teeth. This can cause pain, damage to your braces, and tooth decay from trapped food.
– Breaking or dislodging a bracket if you accidentally bite down too hard on a piece of broccoli.
– Not chewing the broccoli enough, resulting in larger chunks that can choke you or get lodged in your throat.

So for safety and oral health, it’s best to always cook broccoli first before eating it with braces. The heat from cooking softens and partially breaks down the tough cell walls in broccoli, making it much easier and safer to chew and swallow.

Best Ways to Cook Broccoli for Braces

Here are some of the top cooking methods to make broccoli soft for braces:

– Steaming – Steam broccoli until very tender when pierced with a fork, around 5-7 minutes. Steaming makes broccoli soft but still retains crunch.

– Boiling – Boil chopped broccoli in water for 3-5 minutes until fully softened. Drain well after boiling.

– Roasting – Roast broccoli florets tossed in oil in a 400°F oven until browned and softened, 15-20 minutes.

– Microwaving – Microwave broccoli with a bit of water in a covered dish for 2-3 minutes until easily smashed with a fork.

No matter which cooking method you use, allow the broccoli to cool slightly before eating so you don’t burn your mouth. Use caution when chewing and go slow. It may also help to mash or chop broccoli into smaller bits after cooking.

Benefits of Broccoli for Braces Wearers

While raw broccoli is too hard to chew with braces, cooked broccoli offers many benefits:

Rich in Vitamins and Minerals

Broccoli offers an array of important vitamins and minerals:

– Vitamin C – Supports immune function and collagen production for wound healing. Helpful when braces make teeth tender or cause sores.

– Vitamin K – Important for blood clotting and bone health. Counteracts effects of medications like blood thinners.

– Vitamin A – Important for vision, cell growth and immune function.

– Folate – Crucial for cell growth and metabolism. Needed for tissue healing.

– Potassium – Helps maintain fluid balance and nerve transmission.

– Calcium – Needed for bone and tooth health during orthodontic treatment which can deplete calcium.

Aids Dental Health

In addition to containing calcium for tooth remineralization, broccoli has other dental perks:

– Fibrous texture helps clean teeth and gums when chewed well

– Low in sugar which helps prevent cavities

– Contains vitamin C and calcium which are key for gum health

Satisfying Crunch

The satisfying crunch of tender-cooked broccoli gives your jaws a work out to counteract braces stiffening facial muscles. Just be sure to cut broccoli into small pieces before eating.

Filling & Nutritious

Cooked broccoli is very filling thanks to its fiber content, keeping you satisfied on fewer calories. It adds wholesome nutrition to your diet which is important when braces make eating a challenge.

Tips for Eating Broccoli with Braces

Follow these tips and precautions for enjoying broccoli while wearing orthodontic braces:

1. Cut Into Very Small Pieces

Use a sharp knife to chop cooked broccoli into tiny bite-sized pieces no larger than 1/4 inch. You can also use a food processor for uniform tiny pieces. This makes broccoli easy and safe to chew with braces.

2. Mash or Puree

For a smoother texture, mash cooked broccoli with a fork or blender into a puree consistency that won’t get stuck in braces. Season with spices and lemon.

3. Avoid Long Stems

Peel and discard the tough outer stalks of broccoli stems which can be hazardous with braces. Only eat the softer inner stems chopped into small pieces.

4. Take Your Time Chewing

Chew each bite thoroughly, around 20-30 times, before swallowing to prevent choking or broccoli getting stuck in orthodontic appliances.

5. Stay Upright When Eating

Sit upright when eating broccoli and take small bites. Trying to eat lying down increases your risk of choking.

6. Use a Fluoridated Rinse

After eating, swish water to clear any remaining particles. Rinse with a fluoridated mouthwash to help prevent white spot lesions around brackets.

7. Avoid Distractions

Focus just on eating when consuming broccoli with braces. Don’t talk, laugh or engage in other distracting behaviors that can cause you to accidentally bite down.

8. Remove Orthodontic Elastic Bands

Take out any rubber bands before eating broccoli, as elastics make chewing more hazardous. Replace them when done.

How to Prepare Broccoli for Braces

Here are step-by-step instructions for preparing cooked broccoli that’s easy and safe to eat with braces:


– 1 head of broccoli
– 1 cup water
– 1 tsp olive oil or butter (optional)
– Seasonings of choice like salt, pepper, garlic powder, lemon juice


1. Cut the broccoli head into florets, separating from the stem. Peel and slice the stem into thin coins.

2. Bring 1 cup water to a boil in a skillet or pot. Add broccoli florets and sliced stems.

3. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 3-5 minutes until broccoli is fork tender but not mushy.

4. Drain broccoli well then return to the pan. Optionally, toss with olive oil or butter and seasonings.

5. Use a fork or knife to chop broccoli into very small pieces, no bigger than 1/4 inch.

6. Mash any large pieces using a fork, potato masher or blender to break it down further. The broccoli should have a fine, soft texture.

7. Let broccoli cool to a safe eating temperature. Enjoy chewed slowly and thoroughly, about 20-30 chews per bite.

Broccoli Recipes for Braces

Beyond basic boiled or steamed broccoli, there are lots of tasty recipes you can try while wearing braces:

Broccoli Cheese Casserole

Combine chopped steamed broccoli, cheese sauce, rice or soft breadcrumbs, milk, eggs, seasonings and bake until hot and bubbly. The rice and eggs help soften the broccoli.

Cream of Broccoli Soup

Puree cooked broccoli with broth, cream or milk, and seasonings. Heat through until steamy and smooth.

Broccoli Quinoa Salad

Toss chopped steamed broccoli with cooked quinoa, garlic olive oil dressing, dried fruit, nuts, shredded carrot and chicken. The quinoa helps soften the broccoli.

Broccoli Fried Rice

Stir small pieces of cooked broccoli into fried rice with eggs, onions and protein like chicken. Use soft, moist rice.

Broccoli Smoothie

Blend cooked broccoli with yogurt, milk, fruit and spinach for a drinkable vegetable smoothie meal. Goes down easily with braces.

Potential Problems When Eating Broccoli with Braces

While broccoli is an excellent choice for braces wearers, you may encounter problems if you don’t take proper precautions when preparing and eating it:

1. Gets Stuck in Braces

Pieces that are too big can get wedged between brackets and under wires. Thoroughly chew broccoli and cut it small. Floss carefully after eating.

2. Hard Pieces Damage Braces

Attempting to bite down on raw, tough broccoli can crack or break brackets and bend wires. Always cook broccoli first before eating.

3. Choking Hazard

If not chewed well enough, broccoli can obstruct the throat, increasing risk of choking. Eat slowly and chew each piece 20-30 times.

4. Difficulty Chewing Increases with Braces

As treatment progresses and teeth shift, chewing can become more challenging. Chop broccoli finely and alter cooking methods if needed.

5. Cause Mild Digestive Upset

Some people may experience gas or bloating from broccoli’s fiber and raffinose sugars. Introduce broccoli gradually to assess tolerance.

6. Allergies

Broccoli allergies are rare but possible. Those with tree nut allergies are more likely to be allergic. Avoid if you have a known broccoli allergy.

Foods to Avoid with Braces

While broccoli is one of the better foods for braces, orthodontists recommend avoiding the following foods which have a high risk of damaging braces:

– Hard, crunchy foods like raw carrots, apples, nuts, popcorn kernels

– Chewy and sticky foods like gum, caramel, licorice, Starbursts

– Hard taco shells, corn on the cob, beef jerky, bagels

– Ice or popsicles – can crack brackets with hard biting

– Excessively hot foods and beverages which can melt glue


Cooked and prepared properly, broccoli is a nutritious choice for individuals wearing braces. The key is chopping broccoli into very small pieces after steaming or boiling until fork tender. Use caution when chewing and avoid large chunks to prevent broccoli from getting stuck in orthodontic brackets or wires. Eaten regularly along with good oral hygiene, broccoli can support your health and smile during orthodontic treatment.

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