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Can You Drink Coffee with Braces? Tips to Minimize Braces Discomfort

macro shot of white teeth with braces

Braces are orthodontic tools used to correct bites, crowding, and other common dental issues. And while Invisalign has definitely made its mark in the dental industry, many people, particularly teens, still get traditional braces made of wire and brackets.

One of the biggest setbacks with having braces is the limitations that they cause regarding food options. Some foods and drinks can become lodged in braces or cause stains. But what foods and drinks should be avoided? And is coffee included in this list? You can drink coffee while you have braces, though you may want to rinse your mouth out or brush your teeth afterward to avoid stains.

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Should You Drink Coffee If You Have Braces?

Coffee can cause stains on the brackets and bands of your braces. In addition to coffee, other beverages such as dark tea, red wine, and soda can also cause stains. Not to mention that they can also cause changes to the back or front of your teeth.

However, this can usually be avoided by simply rinsing out your mouth after consuming these beverages–or brushing your teeth. So, this isn’t to say that you can’t have your morning cup of joe if you have braces, it’s more of a cautionary warning that it may cause stains over time.

a cup of coffee on a saucer
Image Credit: Richard Balane, Pexels

What Should You Avoid If You Have Braces?

In addition to beverages, there are certain foods that should be avoided according to orthodontists. Here are some of the most common ones. Note that the main foods that you want to avoid are ones that are chewy, hard, or especially sticky. Some examples of these foods include the following:

  • Popcorn
  • Gum and chewy candy (such as Laffy Taffy, Starbursts, and Tootsie Rolls)
  • Pretzels
  • Caramel
  • Steak
  • Uncut whole fruits & raw veggies
  • Hard candies
  • Corn on the cob

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Top 6 Tips for Minimizing Braces Discomfort:

Braces may feel a bit awkward after they’re first put on. And learning to eat and talk with them may prevent even more challenges. However, there are ways that you can make this transition a bit easier, and your teeth and gums will thank you.

1. Before Leaving the Orthodontist, Check Your Supplies

Before you head out, your orthodontist should give you a few supplies to help you maintain your braces. Often, this will include rubber bands, cleaning supplies, wax for your gums, and toothpicks. Also, be sure to do a quick check of your braces to point out any scratchy areas that may irritate your gums.

To do this, simply move your tongue or finger over your entire track of braces (top and bottom) to check for any pointy or rough areas. Your dentist should be able to cover this area with brackets or tuck in any loose wires–and don’t forget that wax!

orthodontic wax and elastics
Image Credit: Anna Gawlik, Shutterstock

2. Try to Survive the First Week

The first week of wearing braces is usually the hardest–especially when it comes to eating and talking. Your mouth will feel sore, and it will be uncomfortable. With all the new hardware that is moving your teeth, there’s just no other way to avoid it.

In the beginning stages, salt water may be helpful to reduce pain and gum/mouth irritation. And it may be much gentler than mouthwash. But know that this will pass and you’ll become more comfortable with wearing them (and flossing with them) within a few weeks.

3. Get a List of Foods to Avoid from Your Orthodontist

This is one of the most difficult things to prepare for–eating. To avoid damaging your braces, you will need to avoid certain foods, chewy, sticky, or hard foods. Though in some cases you can simply cut the food up into smaller bites, avoiding the need to have to bite down on the food with your front teeth.

So, this means foods such as popcorn, caramel, pizza, and thick sandwiches may be a no-go. And remember that these foods can easily get stuck in your braces, cause the wires to become loose, or damage the brackets, resulting in having to make an additional trip to the orthodontist–so it’s important to be careful those first few weeks.

crop man writing in notebook with pen
Image Credit: Karolina Grabowska, Pexels

4. Use Wax for Your Lips & Gums

Your new braces will rub against the inside of the mouth and cause irritation. Though braces are meant to be gentle on your mouth, they may take some time to get used to. And while your mouth gets more accustomed to them, wax can be used to ease discomfort.

The wax is simple to apply, as you just rub it on the back of your lips. If you have wax, keep it with you wherever you go. And do not be afraid to ask for additional wax from your dentist before you go.

5. Brush and Floss Regularly

Braces make it even more difficult to brush and floss your teeth, but these maintenance steps are absolutely crucial to keeping your braces and teeth clean and helping you avoid things such as cavities and lodged food (which can damage your braces).

To prevent bacteria and harmful bacteria from growing in your mouth and creating cavities, you need to clean your teeth more carefully. Yes, it may seem like a hassle initially, but it’s definitely worth it. Orthodontists will typically recommend that you wash or brush your teeth after every meal. So, this may mean carrying a toothbrush and floss with you on the go.

crop woman putting toothpaste on toothbrush
Image Credit: Miriam Alonso, Pexels

6. Consider a Mouthguard

If you play sports, you may also need a mouthguard to help protect your mouth and your braces. Bumps and Falls can cause serious injuries when you have braces and it can lead to cuts, popped wires, and bleeding gums. Wearing a mouthguard can prevent most of these injuries. You can buy a mouthguard for about $12 on Amazon or any sporting goods store.

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Wrapping Things Up

Although you can drink coffee with braces, it’s best to do so with caution as it can stain your braces and your teeth. If you are a regular coffee drinker, be sure to rinse your mouth out after consuming your favorite cup of joe to avoid this.

Featured Image Credit: marinafrost, Shutterstock


Kate MacDonnell

Kate is a lifelong coffee enthusiast and homebrewer who enjoys writing for coffee websites and sampling every kind of coffee known to man. She’s tried unusual coffees from all over the world and owns an unhealthy amount of coffee gear.

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