When the patients at our Naperville orthodontist office get braces for the first time, one of the first things they want to know is what they can (and cannot) eat. If you’ve ever had braces or talked to your orthodontist about getting them, you know there are certain foods that can get caught in the brackets and wires. This doesn’t just make your braces uncomfortable and tough to clean — it can damage your hardware, meaning more visits to the orthodontist office.
As much as the doctors at Innovative Orthodontic Centers love to see your smiling face, the less we have to see you, the better! When you take care of your braces, including not eating anything that could cause damage, you can spend less time in the dentist chair and more time living your life.
If you’re new to braces and having a hard time adapting, don’t worry. We’re here to help you navigate life with braces. While you’ll need to hold off on eating certain foods until after treatment, you might be surprised at how many foods you can still enjoy. Here’s what to eat, what to avoid and where to dine out in Naperville when you have braces.
Foods to Avoid with Braces
Well, you knew this was coming. There are definitely foods you’ll want to avoid when you have braces. This includes anything sticky, crunchy, hard, chewy or foods you have to bite into. That’s because these types of foods can get stuck in or behind your braces, making it tricky to clean your teeth properly, or run the risk of breaking your braces. Good oral hygiene is always important, but it matters even more when you have braces. Here’s a list of common foods to pass up until you get your braces taken off.
- Chewing gum
- Hard candies
- Anything you have to bite into, like apples, carrots or corn on the cob
What to Eat with Braces
Let’s get to the good stuff! There are so many yummy things you can eat even when you have braces. Keep in mind, though, that your teeth will likely be quite sensitive when you first get your braces and after each time you have them tightened. It’s usually best to stick to soft, cold foods that are gentle on your teeth.
Some of our favorite foods to eat with braces are smoothies, soups, yogurt, rice, steamed veggies, tofu and soft breads like pancakes or waffles. And yes, you can even have ice cream. Just be sure to eat it in moderation and brush your teeth after every treat.
To make eating with braces even easier on you, we’ve put together a list of the best braces-friendly restaurants in Naperville. With so many great options for places to eat with braces, you’ll never feel like you’re missing out.
Where to Eat with Braces in Naperville
1. Egg Harbor Cafe – 175 West Jackson
Breakfast lovers, rejoice! Even with braces, you can enjoy all your favorite morning eats at Egg Harbor Cafe. From pancakes and waffles to skillets and scrambles, Egg Harbor has tons of braces-friendly foods on the menu. There’s even a separate gluten free menu for those with allergies.
Our favorite Egg Harbor Cafe is right around the corner from our Naperville orthodontist office. We recommend trying the Bacado Omelette with bacon and creamy avocado or the Cinnamon Roll French Toast if you’ve got a sweet tooth. With 15 Egg Harbor locations in the Chicago area alone, it’s never hard to find a tasty, braces-friendly breakfast near you.
2. Thai Medallion Restaurant – 327 N.Center St
If your kids are picky eaters, learning to eat with braces can be an opportunity to explore different tastes and cuisines. Thai food is the perfect braces-friendly food because it mainly consists of rice, steamed vegetables, soups, curries and easy-to-chew meats. We love Thai Medallion Restaurant, located right around the corner from the DuPage Children’s Museum. Give the Tom Yum soup or the Massamon curry a try. We’re sure Thai cuisine will soon become a household favorite!
3. Q-BBQ – 103 S Main St.
For some down home southern cooking, look no further than Q-BBQ. This traditional, southern-style barbecue house has all the classics, like smoked meats, brisket, chicken wings and ribs. Slow cooked meats, like pretty much everything you’ll find at Q-BBQ, are soft enough to eat with braces. So create a platter for the whole family and dig in. Can’t decide what to eat? The pulled pork and pulled chicken are great options for anyone with braces.
4. Sushi House – 175 Jackson Ave
Sushi is one of the best braces-friendly foods because rice is so easy to eat when you have braces. It doesn’t get stuck in your teeth, it’s soft and easy to chew, and not to mention sushi rolls are perfectly bite-sized. If your braces-clad child or teen is new to Japanese food, start with accessible dishes like California rolls or vegetable tempura. Who knows, once they fall in love with the flavors and textures of Japan, they might even be asking for unagi (barbecued eel) or tuna sashimi!
5. Sweet Home Gelato – 50 South Main Street (Suite 138)
We know everyone loves ice cream and it’s one of the things our braces patients are most excited to eat. But for a healthier option that doesn’t compromise on flavor or quality, we recommend giving gelato a chance. Sweet Home Gelato doesn’t use any cream or butter fat, making it much better for you (and your teeth!) than traditional ice cream. They also have dairy free, sugar free and gluten free options. Some of the most interesting flavors are Pina Colada, Cinnamon Apple Pie and Toasted Marshmallow. Talk about a braces-friendly treat everyone can enjoy!
6. Front Street Cantina – 15 West Jefferson Street
Who doesn’t love Mexican food? Fortunately for anyone with braces, most Mexican dishes are totally safe for your hardware. Soft tortillas won’t harm your braces but hard shells might, so make sure any tacos you eat have a soft shell. Also, biting into burritos might not be the safest bet. Instead, go for house favorites like the chicken enchiladas, Front Street tacos or the quesadilla gringo (just make sure to cut everything into bite-sized pieces).
7. Smoothie King – 22 East Chicago Ave (Suite 118)
Like we said, the best thing to eat with braces is soft, cold foods. That’s why smoothies are one of the most braces-friendly items around. At Smoothie King, you’ll get nutrient-dense blends designed to pack a punch, making sure you (or your kids) get all the vitamins you need. There’s even a special kids menu with braces-friendly smoothies, like the Choc-A-Loka and the Apple Kiwi Bunga, that are sure to put a smile on your little one’s face.
8. Biaggi’s Ristorante Italiano – 2752 Showplace Drive
For a more upscale night out of braces-friendly dining, head over to Biaggi’s Italian restaurant. Pasta is a safe option for those with braces and there’s no shortage of delicious Italian classics on the menu. Along with all the dishes you know and love, there’s also a kids menu for younger guests. Spaghetti and meatballs, cheese ravioli, mac and cheese — the options are endless! Whether you have braces or not, there’s always something to enjoy at Biaggi’s.