What snacks can I eat while having braces?

Having braces can be uncomfortable and inconvenient when it comes to eating snacks. With brackets and wires covering your teeth, many crunchy, sticky, and hard foods can be difficult or even harmful to eat. However, with some adjustments, you can still enjoy plenty of delicious snacks during your orthodontic treatment.

Can I eat chips with braces?

Chips and other crunchy snacks like crackers, pretzels, and popcorn can be eaten in moderation with braces if you follow some precautions. Smaller chips that can fit more easily around orthodontic hardware are best. Bite-size snacks break apart more easily and are less likely to get stuck in braces. Avoid hard taco shells and greasy chips that may be more likely to wedge into wires or brackets. Stick to softer tortilla chips rather than crunchy corn chips. Use caution and pay attention when snacking to avoid breaking wires or brackets.

What about nuts and seeds?

Like chips and crunchy snacks, nuts, seeds, and trail mixes can be consumed carefully with braces. Again, small, bite-size portions are safest. Avoid whole nuts in favor of chopped, halves, pieces, or nut butters. Instead of tough, chewy seeds, opt for ground seeds like in hummus. Peanut and almond butter or sunflower seed spreads on celery sticks, apples, or graham crackers allow you to enjoy the flavor and nutrition of nuts and seeds without the crunchy texture.

Can I have popcorn with braces?

Popcorn is a popular snack, but the kernels can easily become stuck in braces. If you want an occasional popcorn snack, stick to extra soft, light, and fluffy popcorn. Popcorn labeled microwave popcorn or “butter flavored” will likely be too tough and may damage orthodontic appliances. Air popped is best. Let popcorn fully cool before eating so it doesn’t stick. Avoid hard, unpopped kernels. Gently bite off and fully chew small portions at a time.

What breads, grains, and crackers work with braces?

Breads, crackers, cereals, rice cakes, crisps, and similar snacks are possible with braces as long as you choose softer options. Stay away from thick, crusty breads, tough crackers, and crunchy granola. Try soft bread products like dinner rolls, biscuits, muffins, and quick breads. Choose crackers that are thin and crispy but not too crunchy like graham crackers or flatbread crisps. Well-cooked soft rice cakes and puffed rice cereal are also good options. Spread nut butter, bananas, or other soft toppings on your chosen breads or crackers.

Can I eat granola bars and cereal bars with braces?

Granola bars, breakfast bars, rice cereal treats, and other dense bar snacks are often sticky and chewy in texture. It’s best to avoid them, but if you really want one, look for softer options. Seek out chewy granola bars over crunchy ones, or bars with a layer of chocolate, marshmallow, or yogurt for extra softness. Cut or break bars into small pieces before eating. Cereal bars and rice treats will stick less if you microwave them for just a few seconds to soften before consuming.

What fruits and vegetables work for braces?

Fruits and veggies make healthy snacks, but stick to softer produce. Raw, crisp fruits and veggies like apples, carrots, and celery are too hard and crunchy. Cook vegetables until tender or soft. Fruit is safest when peeled, cooked, canned, or pureed. Try bananas, berries, melons, peaches, plums, citrus, avocados, cooked broccoli and carrots, roasted squash, baked sweet potatoes, and applesauce.

Can I have yogurt, applesauce, or fruit smoothies?

Soft, smooth foods like yogurt, applesauce pouches, pureed fruit, and smoothies are great brace-friendly snacks. Avoid add-ins like granola, seeds, dried fruit or vegetables though, which may be hard in texture. Drink smoothies through a straw placed toward the back of your mouth to avoid the straw hitting your braces. If desired, strain out fiber from smoothies for an extra smooth consistency.

What about ice cream and frozen treats?

Ice cream, frozen yogurt, popsicles, gelato, and Italian ices can be enjoyed in moderation. Stick to soft-serve rather than hard ice cream if possible. Bite off small chunks of hard ice cream bars instead of crunching through them. Let hard frozen treats soften slightly before eating. Sorbet and popsicles tend to be extremely hard, so avoid them or let them melt quite a bit first. The cold temperature of frozen desserts helps numb discomfort from braces as you eat.

Can I eat cheese?

Cheese is okay for braces as long as you choose softer varieties that are unlikely to get stuck. Skip hard, crunchy cheeses like cheddar. Instead, opt for soft mozzarella, ricotta, cottage, cream cheese, processed cheese slices and spreads, brie, or camembert. Pair softer cheeses with soft crackers. Cut cheese into small cubes or slices. Avoid gooey melted cheese which can adhere to orthodontics. Pizza is okay but use caution with the cheese and toppings.

Are chocolate and candy allowed?

Sticky, gummy candies like caramels, gummies, taffies, jelly beans, and fruit snacks should be avoided as they can easily damage braces. However, chocolates and brittles are okay. Softer chocolates like truffles work better than hard, crunchy candies. Peanut butter cups, chocolate-covered nuts or pretzels, and chocolate popcorn can get stuck in braces, so consume cautiously in small bites. Break apart candy canes and lollipops instead of crunching through them.

Can I eat pretzels or crunchy snacks?

Hard pretzels, crispy snack mixes with pretzels or crackers, crunchy snack chips, and similar foods are risky for braces, but softer versions can work. Mini pretzel twists are small enough to maneuver around orthodontics. Soft pretzel bites, sticks, and nuggets are safer than hard. Choose thin pretzel crisps over thick crackers. Try yogurt-covered or chocolate-dipped pretzels for extra softness. Remove hard, crusty croutons from snack mixes. Crush crackers into small bits instead of crunching through whole pieces.

Are protein bars and meat snacks okay?

The dense, chewy texture of protein and energy bars can make them stick to braces. Opt for softer options, or break bars into very small pieces. Jerky can be too tough and leathery. Choose softer dried meats if possible. Meat sticks made from chicken, turkey or other tender meats are safer. Cut meat sticks into pieces instead of biting through whole sticks. Peel meat away from stick shape to eat. Spread smooth nut butters onto meat sticks for easier eating.

Can I eat sandwiches and wraps?

Sandwiches, wraps, tacos, and other bite-sized foods are great on-the-go snacks with braces. Stick to soft bread and tortillas though, and be careful of fillings. Slice meats thinly, chop vegetables, crumble cheeses, and mash avocados or egg salad to make the filling easier to bite and chew. Avoid hard, crunchy veggies and spreading nut butters or hummus too thickly. Take care when biting that the filling doesn’t pull out appliances. Cut sandwiches into smaller pieces if needed.

What about pizza and pasta?

Pizza and pasta can be enjoyed in moderation with braces as long as you follow some tips. Stick to thin, soft crust instead of thick, crispy crust on pizzas. Opt for well-cooked penne, fettuccine, or other smoother pasta over thick spaghetti. Avoid raw crunchy toppings on pizzas and pastas that may damage braces like peppers or onions. Cut pizza and pasta into small pieces and use care when biting and chewing to avoid dislodging orthodontic appliances.

Are there any desserts I can eat?

Beyond ice cream and chocolate, there are plenty of brace-friendly desserts to satisfy a sweet tooth. Try mousses, custards, rice pudding, gelatin, cookies soaked in milk, donuts, muffins, quick breads, and soft cakes like pound cake. Avoid anything extremely hard like lollipops or jawbreakers. Also stay away from chewy-sticky sweets like taffy that can grab onto brackets. Focus on softer textures and small bites of any harder desserts. Having braces requires some dessert adjustments but doesn’t mean eliminating sweets entirely.

Can I have gum or chewy candy?

Absolutely avoid gum, caramels, gummies, jelly beans, taffy, Starburst, Skittles, and other extremely chewy candy. They are likely to grab onto brackets and pull them off. Even if they don’t damage appliances, they may become stuck and be difficult to remove. Chewy candies can also pull out wires and break the glued bonds on brackets. Sugar-free gum is also not allowed as it gets very sticky. Stick to chocolates and softer non-chewy candies until you get your braces off.

What drinks can I have?

Water, milk, juices, smoothies without seeds or chunks of fruit, slushies, shakes, and thin soups are good brace-safe beverages. Avoid sipping on sticky, syrupy sodas. Skip hot liquids like coffee, tea, and hot chocolate or let them cool first to prevent burning. Use a reusable straw placed toward the back of your mouth when drinking to avoid liquids hitting and sticking to braces. Clean your teeth after drinking beverages other than water, especially before bed.

Can I snack on beef jerky with braces?

Beef jerky can be challenging to eat with braces because it is very tough, chewy, and leathery. However, softer or more processed versions are easier to chew. Look for jerky that is labeled as tender, easy chew, or lightly dried rather than extra tough. Choose jerky sticks made from chicken, turkey, or pork over super chewy beef jerky. Peel meat away from the stick shape rather than biting off big chunks. Cut any meat sticks into smaller pieces before eating. Spread nut butter on jerky for extra moisture and softness when chewing. Soaking jerky in water briefly can also help soften it up before consuming. Start with just a small amount of jerky at a time and stop eating it if you feel your braces being pulled.

Can I snack on apples with braces?

Whole raw apples are too hard and crunchy to be eaten safely with braces. The crisp texture is likely to damage wires and brackets as you bite into them. However, softer cooked apple options can provide an apple flavor without harming your orthodontics. Try baked apples, microwaved apple slices, applesauce, or pureed apple. Canned sliced apples in juice or water are tender enough when drained. Apples can also be peeled and cut into small cubes for easier chewing. Wait until after your braces are removed to enjoy biting into whole apples again.

Are vegetables okay for snacking with braces?

Vegetables make healthy snacks, but you’ll have to avoid hard, crunchy raw veggies with braces. Instead, opt for softer cooked vegetables that will be gentle on your orthodontic hardware. Steam or roast vegetables like broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, or squash until just fork tender. Bake vegetables into frittatas, hand pies, or muffins. Puree veggies into smooth soups or dip. Try softer veggies like steamed green beans, mashed potatoes, cooked spinach, roasted red peppers, parsnips, or beets. Cut any crunchy veg like cucumbers or bell peppers into small soft pieces before eating.

What about crunchy snack mixes and crackers?

Crunchy snack mixes with crackers, pretzels, nuts, and more are risky for braces but you can modify them to make them safer. Pick out any hard ingredients from mixes, or start with a milder trail mix without crunchy add-ins. Use mini or extra thin pretzels and crackers that can more easily maneuver around orthodontics. Soak hard crackers briefly to soften before eating. Opt for mashed sweet potato crackers over crisp ones. Break crackers and pretzels into small pieces before chewing. Avoid biting through hard snacks to prevent damage to your braces.

Can I eat granola bars or nutrition bars with braces?

The hard, chewy texture of granola and protein bars can make them challenging for braces. However, there are some tips to make them more brace-friendly. Seek out soft, crumbly granola bars rather than extremely dense, crunchy ones. Cut or break bars into very small pieces instead of biting off chunks. Microwave chewy bars briefly to soften before eating. Opt for bars coated in or filled with chocolate, marshmallow, or yogurt for extra softness. Spread nut butter onto a bar to moisten it. In general though, it’s safest to avoid granola and protein bars until your braces come off.

Are bags of microwavable popcorn okay?

Prepackaged microwavable popcorn is likely too hard and crunchy for braces. The popcorn kernels don’t fully pop and can damage wires and brackets as you bite down. Even the popped kernels may be too hard. A better option is plain popcorn kernels you pop yourself on the stove or in an air popper. This creates lighter, softer popcorn that won’t harm braces as easily. Let the popcorn fully cool before eating so it doesn’t stick to your braces. Pick out any un-popped kernels and avoid biting down directly on the popcorn.

Can I eat nuts or seeds with braces?

Crunching down on whole nuts, seeds, and trail mixes can certainly harm dental appliances. However, there are ways to enjoy nuts and seeds without the harmful texture. Opt for chopped, sliced, slivered, or pieces of nuts rather than whole nuts in shells. Spread nut butters like peanut, almond, or sunflower seed butter onto breads, apples, crackers, or celery sticks to enjoy the flavor. Ground seeds like in hummus also remove the crunchy texture. Roasted peas, lentils, and chickpeas make portable nutritious snacks. Take care and fully chew any nuts or seeds, even when modified, to avoid excessive pressure on braces.

Are soft or hard-boiled eggs okay?

Hard-boiled eggs are too firm and crunchy for braces. The texture can grab onto brackets and bend wires. Soft-boiled eggs are a better option. Try eggs boiled just 3-5 minutes so the white is fully set but the yolk remains soft and creamy. Scoop soft egg yolk onto bread or a veggie dipper. For an extra soft texture, scramble or fry eggs instead. Eggs provide protein and nutrition without an overly crunchy texture as long as they are prepared soft or well-cooked.

What kinds of chips and crackers work with braces?

Chips and crackers can be challenging crunchy snacks to eat with braces. Look for thin, delicate chips and crisps rather than thick, hardy chips. Pita and bagel chips work well. Pretzel chips or tiny pretzel sticks are safer than large hard pretzels. Puffed rice or corn crackers crumble easily. Graham crackers, matzo, and plain saltine crackers are relatively soft. Opt for small chips that fit around orthodontics. Break crackers into pieces and let chips dissolve instead of biting through them. Dip chips to soften before eating. Once your braces are off, you can return to crunching on any favorite crispy snacks.


Having braces doesn’t mean giving up on snacking. With some thoughtful food choices and preparation methods, you can still enjoy a wide variety of delicious, satisfying snacks during your treatment. Stick to soft, smooth, and bite-sized foods while avoiding anything extremely hard, crunchy, chewy, or sticky. Modify crunchy snacks to make them safer or opt for naturally soft snacks like yogurt, cottage cheese, pureed fruits and veggies. Drink with a straw and clean your teeth regularly. Following basic precautions will allow you to snack happily while keeping your braces intact.

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