What can you eat the first week of braces?

Getting braces can be an exciting time, but it also comes with some dietary adjustments, especially in the first week. Your teeth and jaws need time to adjust to the new hardware, so what you eat and how you eat it requires some extra consideration. The good news is, with some planning and preparation, you can still enjoy a variety of tasty, nutritious foods.

Why does your diet matter with new braces?

When you first get braces, your teeth will likely be tender and sensitive. Hard or chewy foods could cause damage or breakage to the braces. Food can also easily get stuck in the wires and brackets as your mouth gets used to them. Additionally, eating the wrong foods could prolong your adjustment period and make the soreness last longer. Being mindful about what you eat at first allows your teeth, jaws and soft tissues to acclimate more comfortably.

General diet guidelines for the first week

The overarching goal is to choose foods that require little chewing and are soft, smooth and easy to swallow. Here are some general guidelines for the first week with braces:

  • Stick to soft, minced, mashed, pureed or well-cooked foods
  • Avoid very hot or very cold foods that could irritate your mouth
  • Cut food into small pieces to make it easier to chew and swallow
  • Be extra diligent about oral hygiene to avoid food getting stuck
  • Drink plenty of water to keep your mouth comfortable

Recommended foods

Here are some of the best options for the first week with braces:


  • Water
  • Milk and milk alternatives like almond milk or oat milk
  • Smoothies made with yogurt or ice cream
  • Protein shakes or meal supplements like Ensure
  • Decaf coffee and tea (warm, not hot)
  • Soup broths
  • Juices without pulp or seeds like apple or orange juice


  • Plain Greek yogurt
  • Cottage cheese
  • Soft cheeses like brie, ricotta or cream cheese
  • Pudding
  • Ice cream, milkshakes or smoothies

Fruits and vegetables

  • Pureed fruits like applesauce, banana and avocado
  • Cooked, steamed or roasted vegetables
  • Vegetable soups and well-cooked stews
  • Canned fruits like peaches, pears and mandarin oranges


  • Oatmeal and cream of wheat
  • Rice porridge
  • Pasta, noodles, couscous
  • Well-cooked rice
  • Soft breads, rolls, tortillas, pancakes and waffles


  • Eggs any style
  • Tender, minced meats
  • Ground meat
  • Shredded chicken, turkey or pork
  • Tuna salad or egg salad
  • Canned beans
  • Tofu
  • Protein shakes


  • Soups
  • Broths
  • Mashed potatoes or baked potatoes without skin
  • Creamy peanut butter
  • Jello
  • Popsicles

Foods to avoid

On the other hand, some foods are too hard, chewy, crunchy or sticky to eat comfortably with new braces. Avoid these types of foods for the first week:

  • Hard or crunchy raw vegetables and fruits like apples, carrots and celery
  • Tough, chewy or crusty breads and bagels
  • Pizza
  • Hard candies and chewing gum
  • Nuts, seeds and popcorn
  • Hard cookies and pretzels
  • Chips
  • Sticky foods like caramel, taffy or gumdrops
  • Crunchy granola
  • Corn on the cob
  • Hard tacos or tortillas
  • Steak or other hard-to-chew meats

Tips for eating with new braces

In addition to choosing softer foods, use these tips to make eating more comfortable with new braces:

  • Take small bites and chew slowly and gently, using your back teeth
  • If a food is too hard to bite through, consider cutting it into smaller pieces first
  • If a food is chewy or sticky, consider steaming, boiling or baking it first to soften it
  • Spread nut butters thinly over soft breads or crackers
  • Opt for soups and stews to soften vegetables and meats
  • Remove tough skins, seeds and membranes from fruits and vegetables
  • Cut foods like waffles, pancakes, sandwiches and burgers into bite-sized pieces
  • Bring soup or sauce to lukewarm temperature before eating
  • Rinse your mouth and brush after eating to remove any stuck food

Sample 1-week meal plan

To give you an idea of what a typical day could look like, here is a sample meal plan for the first week with braces:


  • Breakfast: Oatmeal with mashed banana, yogurt with sliced peaches, milk
  • Lunch: Mashed avocado and tuna salad sandwich on soft bread, minced vegetable soup, applesauce
  • Dinner: Shredded chicken tacos with soft tortillas, sauteed carrots, cooked rice, ice cream


  • Breakfast: Scrambled eggs, toast with almond butter, Greek yogurt with blueberries
  • Lunch: Macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, milkshake
  • Dinner: Lasagna cut into small pieces, cooked broccoli, pears


  • Breakfast: Cottage cheese with peaches, cream of wheat, apple juice
  • Lunch: Grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup, Jello with fruit
  • Dinner: Tacos with ground beef and soft taco shells, refried beans, rice, banana


  • Breakfast: Peanut butter and sliced banana on bread, scrambled eggs, milk
  • Lunch: Tuna melt sandwich, mashed sweet potato, pudding
  • Dinner: Pulled pork sandwiches, baked potato without skin, cooked carrots, sorbet


  • Breakfast: Oatmeal with berries, scrambled eggs, orange juice
  • Lunch: Chicken noodle soup, mashed potatoes, yogurt with peaches
  • Dinner: Pasta with meatballs, steamed broccoli, ice cream sandwich


  • Breakfast: Avocado toast, cottage cheese with pineapple, protein shake
  • Lunch: Grilled cheese and tomato soup, apple sauce
  • Dinner: Baked salmon, mashed cauliflower, cooked carrots, sorbet


  • Breakfast: Scrambled eggs, banana, yogurt with granola, milk
  • Lunch: Chicken Caesar salad with soft bread, pudding
  • Dinner: Shepherd’s pie, cooked green beans, ice cream

Transitioning to regular foods

After the first week, you can start reintroducing firmer foods as your adjustment period ends. Slowly begin working in crunchy fruits and veggies, crusty breads, meats, nuts and seeds over the following days and weeks. Cut foods into small pieces and chew thoroughly. Avoid sticky, chewy sweets and hard candies which can damage braces. Use your judgment, and if something causes discomfort, go back to softer foods until your teeth and jaws adjust.

With some strategy and preparation, you can still enjoy a variety of healthy, tasty foods in your first week with braces. Be patient with your adjustment period, stick mainly to soft foods and you’ll be back to eating your usual diet before you know it.


The first week with braces requires an adaptation in your diet to allow your mouth to adjust comfortably. Stick to foods that are soft, smooth, minced, mashed or well-cooked. Avoid anything too hard, chewy, crunchy or sticky. Drink plenty of fluids and take small bites. With a little creativity, you can come up with nutritious, appealing meals. Within a week or two you can steadily reintroduce more foods. Paying attention to what you eat in the beginning will get you through the initial soreness and allow your braces treatment to be as pleasant as possible.

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