How Do I Remove Food from My Braces without Brushing?

Learn How to Clean Braces Without Using a Toothbrush and Toothpaste

At Pure Smiles Orthodontics in Austin, Texas, we want our patients to know how to clean braces effectively when they don’t have access to a toothbrush. While we recommend carrying a small tube of toothpaste along with a travel toothbrush with you to keep your brackets and wires looking nice, it is possible to forget these dental care items. One of the best ways to remove food from your braces without brushing is by swishing water around in your mouth after eating a meal or snack.

What Are the Foods You Can’t Eat With Braces?

There are several foods you can’t eat with braces to avoid dislodging your brackets or breaking your wires. These foods include anything that is hard, sticky or fibrous, including:

  • Popcorn, corn chips, pretzels or potato chips
  • Caramels and other sticky candies
  • Raw carrots or other fibrous fruits and vegetables
  • Nuts such as cashews or pecans
  • Larger seeds such as sunflower seeds
  • Hard breads such as bagels
  • Avoid chewing things like pencils or ice cubes because they can damage your braces too.

A List of Good Foods to Eat With Braces

After looking at the list of foods you can’t eat with braces, you probably are wondering what you can eat. Fortunately, there are many good foods to eat with braces, including:

  • Soft raw fruits such as blueberries, bananas and strawberries
  • Nutritious raw vegetables such as spinach or bell pepper strips
  • Cooked vegetables such as potatoes, zucchini or peas
  • Finely-chopped raw fruits such as pineapple, watermelon and oranges
  • Small pieces of soft meats, including poultry, pork and beef
  • Tender steamed fish, including tuna, salmon or perch
  • Soft breads and cooked grains
  • Dairy foods such as yogurt and cheese cubes

How to Clean Braces After Meals


It’s recommended you brush your teeth after every meal to remove food debris that may get stuck between your teeth. When brushing, use a soft-bristled toothbrush with a small head, so that you can reach all the areas in your mouth. Twice a day is recommended, and when you have braces, it’s important to carefully clean around the brackets and in between the spaces of wires and teeth, where bits of food can get stuck. Trapped food debris leads to decay, especially if stuck between the areas of the gums and brackets.


Even though your teeth might be covered in wires, it’s important to keep flossing. Flossing helps remove the food debris that collects between your teeth or underneath the wires of your braces. Make sure to do this slowly and carefully to avoid damaging the delicate brackets or wires of your braces. A floss threader might also help. A floss threader is a flossing tool that let’s the floss get underneath the archwires easier.

Oral Irrigators

Another great tool is an oral irrigator or “water pick.” A water pick uses a pressurized stream of water and squirts the water on your teeth to remove debris around the wires and bands. While it isn’t a substitute for flossing, it’s definitely a good way to help keep the spaces between your teeth clean.

Need Help with Braces? Contact Pure Smiles Today!

Daily flossing and brushing are essential for your oral health when you have braces. Since the wires can trap food easily, make sure both of these are done every day, twice a day. If you need help or would like to learn more information about braces, contact Pure Smiles today. Braces are an investment that pay off every time you smile, so getting good orthodontic work is important — and we’d be happy to help!