How soon can you eat after getting braces?

Getting braces is an exciting time, but it also comes with many questions, especially around what you can and can’t eat. One of the most common questions is: how soon after getting braces can I eat normally again?

The Initial 24 Hours

In the first 24 hours after getting braces, it’s normal for your teeth and mouth to be very tender and sensitive. Because of this, it’s recommended to stick to a soft food diet during this time. Some examples of soft foods you can eat include:

  • Yogurt
  • Applesauce
  • Jello
  • Pudding
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Oatmeal
  • Soup
  • Smoothies

It’s best to avoid hard, crunchy, and chewy foods during the first 24 hours as they can cause pain and damage to your braces. Foods to avoid include:

  • Nuts
  • Popcorn
  • Hard candies
  • Ice
  • Pizza crust
  • Raw vegetables
  • Steak
  • Sticky foods like caramel or gum

Be sure to take any pain medication prescribed by your orthodontist as needed during this time as well.

The First Week

During the first week after getting braces, you’ll still want to focus on soft, gentle foods as your mouth continues to adjust. Some great options include:

  • Pasta
  • Casseroles
  • Meatloaf
  • Soups and stews
  • Eggs
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Cooked vegetables
  • Cottage cheese
  • Fruit smoothies

You’ll need to continue avoiding hard, crunchy, and sticky foods that can damage braces during this time. It’s also important to cut food into small pieces to make chewing easier.

After 1 Week

After the first week with braces, you can start to slowly add in some normal foods to your diet. However, you’ll still need to be careful and make modifications. Here are some tips:

  • Cut foods into small pieces before eating
  • Avoid hard or crunchy foods like raw apples, carrots, popcorn, nuts, or ice
  • Be careful with sticky or chewy foods like bagels, licorice, caramel, gum
  • Consider steaming harder vegetables like carrots or broccoli to soften them
  • Avoid excessively chewy foods like steak, ribs, or crusty bread
  • Stay away from sugary foods and drinks as much as possible

With some adjustments, you should be able to enjoy many of your favorite foods again by 1 week after getting braces. Some good options include:

  • Pizza (cut into small pieces with softer crust)
  • Pasta
  • Quesadillas (with soft tortillas)
  • Sandwiches (with soft bread and cut into pieces)
  • Fish
  • Chicken
  • Meatloaf
  • Soups
  • Salads (cut into small pieces)
  • Fruits like bananas, applesauce

While your orthodontist will give you specific guidelines, most people are able to transition back to a normal diet within 1-2 weeks after braces.

Foods to Avoid with Braces

While you’ll be able to eat most foods within 1-2 weeks of getting braces, some foods should still be limited or avoided altogether to prevent damage. Foods to be careful with include:

  • Hard, crunchy, or sticky foods: Popcorn, nuts, hard candies, chewing gum, caramel, ice cubes, raw veggies
  • Chewy or crusty foods: Bagels, hard crusty bread, licorice, steak, ribs
  • Sugary foods: Candy, cookies, cake, sugar-filled cereals, sodas
  • Sticky foods: Starburst, gummy bears, dried fruit, peanut butter, syrup
  • Hard fruits and vegetables: Whole apples, corn on the cob, raw carrots
  • Chips and pretzels: Can cut your wires

These foods can bend the wires in your braces, damage the brackets, or get stuck. It’s best to modify them or avoid them altogether if possible.

Tips for Eating with Braces

Here are some helpful tips for eating with braces:

  • Cut foods into small pieces to make chewing easier
  • Thoroughly chew foods to soften them before swallowing
  • Consider steaming or baking harder foods to soften them
  • Avoid foods that can easily get stuck in braces like popcorn, nuts, seeds, or gum
  • Be careful with hot, hard, sticky, crunchy, or chewy foods
  • Rinse your mouth after meals to dislodge any particles
  • Brush and floss carefully after eating
  • Use orthodontic wax for sore spots
  • See your orthodontist right away if something breaks or comes loose

Following these tips will help prevent damage to your braces and make eating more comfortable.

When to See Your Orthodontist

It’s important to see your orthodontist right away if you have any issues with your braces after eating such as:

  • Loose bracket or band
  • Poking wire
  • Broken wire
  • Something stuck in braces
  • Injury or mouth soreness

Don’t try to fix it yourself as that can lead to further damage. Call your orthodontist to schedule an emergency appointment if needed.

Foods to Eat with Braces

While you’ll need to be selective after first getting braces, there are still many delicious foods you can enjoy. Here are some of the best options:

  • Yogurt
  • Pudding
  • Applesauce
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Pasta
  • Casseroles
  • Soups and stews
  • Eggs
  • Oatmeal
  • Cooked vegetables
  • Milkshakes and smoothies
  • Bananas and soft fruit
  • Soft breads
  • Fish
  • Ground meat
  • Quesadillas
  • Pancakes and waffles
  • Rice
  • Tuna salad, egg salad

Focus on soft, smooth foods for the first week, then slowly reintroduce regular foods by cutting them into small pieces. Avoid damage to your braces by steering clear of hard, crunchy, chewy, and sticky foods.


The first 1-2 weeks after getting braces requires sticking to soft foods as your mouth adjusts. While very hard, sticky, chewy, or crunchy foods should still be avoided, most people can transition back to a normal diet within a couple weeks. Be cautious, chew thoroughly, and cut food into small pieces. See your orthodontist right away if you have any issues after eating. With some care and planning, you can still enjoy a wide variety of delicious foods with braces!

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