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So you just got braces and all the ins-and-outs of wearing them are still pretty new. One of the biggest shifts? Apart from more diligent oral hygiene routines and a few more visits to see us at VanderWall Orthodontics, one of the most obvious adjustments is eating with braces. Some foods are super braces-friendly while others… well, not so much!

If you’re not sure which foods to eat with braces, start with smoothies. A great soft food for braces, smoothies are gentle on braces and teeth, are healthy, and you’ll find endless recipes and ingredient combinations! When you first get braces, cold smoothies also help numb your mouth, providing some relief from the sensitivity you might be feeling. So in this post, Dr. Clay VanderWall shares 7 of our team’s favorites, braces-friendly recipes for smoothies of our own.

Foods to Eat With Braces

But before we dive into smoothies, let’s have a quick refresher on what you can eat with braces, as well as what foods to steer clear of. When you wear braces, you can definitely eat a lot of the things that you’ve always loved. However when you first get braces, teeth can feel a bit more sensitive than usual. Rest assured, this is totally normal! 

To soothe sensitive teeth, eat soft foods as well as cold foods and drinks. Some of the best foods to eat when you first get braces include: yogurt, applesauce, ripe bananas, soup, oatmeal, scrambled eggs, pasta, mashed potatoes, and, of course, smoothies.  

Many of our patients ask us, “How long after getting braces can you eat normal foods?” Once your teeth are more used to braces, start bringing other foods back into your diet. Now, you might be surprised to know that with braces, you can still enjoy most of the foods you loved before you had braces. It’s more a matter of how you eat than what you eat with braces. 

Chewy foods like meat, bread, or pizza? Crispy foods like cucumbers or apples? Cut these up into bite-sized pieces and chew them carefully with your back molars instead of trying to tear off chunks with your front teeth. 

And since it’s summer, you can enjoy warm-weather dining favorites like corn on the cob or barbecue, even with braces. Just cut the kernels off the cob and cut meat off the bone into small pieces before eating.  

Foods to Avoid With Braces 

So what foods can’t you eat with braces? It’s best to stay away from any hard, crunchy, or sticky foods since these can potentially damage your brackets or wires. Chewy foods like beef jerky are also best avoided if you can’t cut them up into small pieces easily.

Hard foods to avoid:

  • Chips & pretzels
  • Nuts
  • Popcorn (the unpopped kernels can damage braces)
  • Crackers
  • Hard taco shells
  • Hard rolls
  • Hard candy
  • Ice 

Sticky foods to avoid:

  • Gum
  • Gummy candies
  • Caramel & toffee

Smoothies for the Win!

So back to smoothies. Breakfast, lunch, or dinner, smoothies are one of the best things to eat with braces. Nutritious, gentle on teeth and braces, there are recipes out there to suit every taste, craving, and season! 

braces-friendly recipes for smoothies

1. Blueberry & Banana Smoothie

All Recipes has plenty of smoothie recipes to choose from. We like this blueberry, banana, and peanut butter smoothie because it covers all the nutritional bases you need: vitamins and minerals, protein, healthy fat, and fibre. Plus, it’s very low in added sugar — you could even take out the sweetener altogether. Get the recipe here.

2. Green Smoothie in a Bowl

Love smoothies but need a bit of a change? This smoothie bowl is a twist on your usual green smoothie. Chia seeds make this smoothie spoonable and garnishes of granola and fresh fruit add texture. You definitely get your greens with two full cups of spinach in this recipe from the Food Network

3. Watermelon Smoothie

Summer called and wants its smoothie back! This thirst-quenching smoothie is all about highlighting the king of hot weather treats: the watermelon. The key to this recipe is freezing your watermelon chunks before blending so they’re like watermelon ice cubes. Find the recipe on Martha Stewart’s website.

4. Strawberries & Chocolate Smoothie

Craving a smoothie that tastes like dessert? This strawberry and chocolate almond milk smoothie from Eating Well fits the bill. Healthy and low in sugar, this decadent-tasting recipe is great as-is for vegans.

5. Caffeine Kick in a Smoothie

You might be surprised to know that you can get your morning caffeine and a healthy breakfast in one go: a Wake Me Up coffee smoothie from Live Eat Learn has whole grains, protein, fruit, and caffeine all in one cup. 

6. Raspberry Sunrise Smoothie

This smoothie recipe looks and tastes good. Plus, raspberries and mangoes are high in vitamins in A, C, K, and calcium — crucial vitamins for maintaining healthy gums and teeth. 

7. Pumpkin Apple Smoothie

Summer’s not quite over yet, but if you’re already looking forward to Fall, a pumpkin apple smoothie is both braces-friendly food and fits your mood. A hearty smoothie, this recipe is like a cosy hug featuring Greek yogurt for protein, pumpkin puree, pumpkin spice, and fresh apple.

Not Wearing Braces? How About Eating With Invisalign?

It’s worth mentioning that many of our suggestions for eating with braces also apply to eating with Invisalign®. If you’re using these clear aligners, you have the freedom to eat anything you want, as long as you take them out first. And if you experience tooth or gum discomfort when changing your aligner trays, cold foods like smoothies will soothe your mouth. 

So what does eating smoothies with Invisalign look like? Simply take out your aligners, enjoy your smoothie, then rinse your mouth with water and pop your aligners back in!

Caring for Braces With VanderWall Orthodontics

Dr. VanderWall and the team at VanderWall Orthodontics are happy to answer your questions about the best foods to eat during orthodontic treatment. If you’re currently not wearing braces or clear aligners, contact us for a free initial consultation at our Raleigh, Cary, or Durham office to find out which is right for you.

Dr. Clay VanderWall

Author Dr. Clay VanderWall

Dr. VanderWall attended Kalamazoo College, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Health Sciences. He spent a semester doing research at the Dental Research Center of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill where he wrote his Senior Individualized Project (SIP). He furthered his studies at the University of Detroit-Mercy School of Dentistry, receiving his Doctor of Dental Surgery in 1999. He graduated with honors and was inducted into the national dental honor society, Omicron Kappa Upsilon (OKU). He also received the Pierre Fauchard Academy Student Award and was a recipient of the Health Professions Scholarship from the United States Navy.

More posts by Dr. Clay VanderWall

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