One of the first questions the patients at our orthodontist practice in Houston ask us is, “How will getting braces change my life?” For one, you get to look forward to a brand new smile that you’ll be excited to show off to all your friends. But before you get there, you will have to get used to a few changes first.
First of all, your teeth will look a little different with your fancy new hardware and you might experience some discomfort as your braces work their magic. You also need to pay more attention to what you eat. Certain foods — like crunchy, sticky or chewy foods — just don’t get along with braces. To make sure your new smile is progressing according to your doctor’s plan, it’s best to avoid these things until your treatment is complete.
At Houston Orthodontic Specialists, we’re here to take the guesswork out of what you can and cannot eat with braces. Better yet, we’re giving you an awesome list of where to eat with braces in Houston. (Invisalign folks, you don’t need to worry so much about avoiding certain foods because your aligners are removable! Just take them out when you eat and be sure to brush your teeth before you put your aligners back in.)
What Can I Eat with Braces?
If you (or your kids) have ever tried to eat foods like bagels, apples or bubble gum with braces, you’ve probably already figured out that some foods simply aren’t compatible with brackets and wires. When you have braces, these types of foods can easily get caught in your teeth or even run the risk of damaging your braces. This means you’ll need to make an unexpected trip to your orthodontist to fix the problem. While we love to see your smiling face, it’s best to be smart about what you’re eating with braces and limit unnecessary delays in your treatment. Here’s a list of common foods to avoid when chowing down with braces.
- Crunchy foods: Popcorn, ice, chips or hard candies could potentially break your brackets.
- Chewy foods: Dense breads, like bagels or pizza crust, can stick to your braces and be incredibly difficult to remove.
- Sticky foods: Caramels, candy, bubble gum — all of these are a no-go when you have braces. In addition to getting stuck in your braces, these treats can also pull your brackets off (not to mention the sugar alone is bad for your teeth!).
- Anything you bite into: Biting into things like apples, corn-on-the-cob or carrots are harmful to your hardware.
We get it: this sounds like a lot to remember and to avoid. But there are plenty of delicious foods you can still enjoy when you have braces. Early on in your treatment, your teeth will likely be quite sensitive so it’s best to stick to soft or cold foods that are gentle on your teeth. Things like yogurt and smoothies (and yes, sometimes ice cream) are totally safe, as well as soup, steamed vegetables and soft, cooked grains. A good trick is to cut your food into smaller, bite-sized pieces and if it hurts, don’t eat it
Where to Eat with Braces in Houston
Uptown Sushi – 1131-14 Uptown Park Blvd
It might come as a surprise but Japanese food is the perfect thing to eat for anyone with braces because it is soft and (nearly) bite-sized. Raw fish, cooked veggies and rice are all staples in Japanese cuisine — and all of these things are soft enough to keep your braces safe and in-tact. If your kids aren’t into raw fish, go for dishes like vegetable tempura or California rolls, which are guaranteed to be gentle on sensitive teeth. Uptown Sushi has plenty of creative special rolls too, if you’re feeling adventurous. The Lickety Split roll, with a variety of fresh seafood, sounds delicious (and is 100% safe for people with braces!).
Doux Cafe – 865 Dairy Ashford Rd
Who said you could only eat crepes for breakfast? At Doux Cafe, you can enjoy Paris’ favorite street food at any time of day. Crepes are soft and easy to eat, so even those with the most sensitive teeth will be able to chow down on Doux Cafe’s delicious treats. Crepes not your style? Try one of their amazing waffles instead!
Jinya Ramen Bar – 3201 Louisiana St
You might have to avoid a lot of different foods when you have braces, but at least you can still enjoy oodles of noodles! Jinya Ramen Bar serves up some of the best Asian-inspired dishes around. Soft, cooked grains, like noodles and rice, are totally safe for braces, so you’re free to enjoy ramen to your heart’s content.
The 401 – 6700 Ferris (Suite 150)
Eating out with braces doesn’t have to be hard, as long as you know where to look. The 401 cafe might seem like an unlikely place to find a braces-friendly, kid-friendly meal, but it’s one of the best places to eat with braces in Houston. Open for lunch and breakfast, The 401 has many options for those with braces. Choose one of The 401’s delicious salads or go for a power bowl. With one of these comforting options, you’ll never feel like you’re missing because of your braces.
Nekter Juice Bar – 6700 Ferris Street (Suite 120)
Before you just keep scrolling on, hear us out — Nekter Juice Bar isn’t just for hippies and yogis. This chain smoothie bar makes some of the tastiest juices and smoothies in town, all of which are the perfect thing to eat when you have braces. Soft, check. Cold, check. Healthy and delicious, double check. For something a little heartier than a liquid meal, try a nutrient-packed smoothie bowl (just swap out granola for extra fruit to avoid eating anything too crunchy). Nekter has one location in Bellaire and two in Houston, so it’s always easy to get your smoothie fix.
Tarascos Ice Cream – 13932 Westheimer Rd
Well, we promised that you could eat ice cream with braces (at least, in moderation). When you’re craving something cold and sweet, head to Tarascos. A Houston favorite, Tarascos has a menu that’s sure to satisfy any ice cream craving. Tarascos is the go-to spot for a braces-friendly dessert — just make sure to avoid flavors with crunchy, chewy or sticky ingredients, and opt for a cup instead of a cone. And promise us you’ll brush your teeth after you’ve gobbled up a hand-crafted paleta.
Pecan Creek – 1510 Eldridge Pkwy (Suite 100)
For a braces-friendly meal the whole family will love, head over to Pecan Creek. This popular breakfast and lunch spot, next to our West Houston orthodontic office, is a favorite among locals, with staples like scrambled eggs, omelettes and tacos. You’re sure to find many things you can eat with braces.
Dolce Vita – 500 Westheimer Rd
Don’t worry — you don’t have to give up pizza just because you have braces. Dolce Vita has many options that people with braces can enjoy, from salads and roasted veggies to their amazing pasta and pizza pies. Don’t miss Dolce Vita’s housemade gelato. It’s the perfect dessert when you have braces!