So you started your teeth-straightening journey and now you’re trying to work out the braces and food equation. A lot of our Bothell, Monroe and Mill Creek braces patients are under the assumption that they’ll have to make drastic changes to their diet. That’s not the case at all. You’ll be happy to know you can still enjoy most of your favorites. After Dr. Chan outfits you with your new hardware, he’ll go over all of the details about life with braces. In the meantime, we’ll give you a brief overview of the things you can eat as well as some of Richard Chan Orthodontics’ favorite Seattle area restaurants with braces-friendly food.
What to Eat With Braces
If you’re wondering what foods are safe to eat with braces, the good news is, it’s less about what you eat and more about how to eat with braces on. Never tear into things with your front teeth. Instead, cut or break food such as whole apples, raw carrots, hard rolls, bagels and pizza crust into bite-sized pieces, take corn off the cob and chew with your back teeth. There are some foods that are off limits like gum unless it’s sugar-free, and other really sticky things including taffy, caramels, Tootsie Rolls, Starburst, and licorice. You’ll also need to avoid nuts, popcorn, hard taco shells and whole chips as these can damage brackets or get stuck causing inflammation. Other than that, have at it!
When you first get your braces put on and after adjustments, your teeth might be sensitive. While Invisalign is removable and there are no food restrictions, you’ll have similar sensitivity when you put in a new set of aligners so take note. Soft foods and cold food and drinks will be a big help. Yogurt, mashed potatoes, smoothies, milkshakes – in moderation, of course –, steamed veggies, bananas, soup, pasta, and noodles are great options.
What Type of Restaurants Can I Eat at With Braces?
Any restaurant will have a slew of braces-friendly food on the menu, so orthodontic treatment doesn’t have to put a damper on dining out. However, some establishments will likely be better than others as far as the number of choices go. To make it easy when trying to decide where to eat with braces on, consider some of our suggestions.
Braces-Friendly Food in Seattle
- Cafe Munir – 2408 NW 80th Street – This Lebanese spot consistently ranks high on lists of the best restaurants in Seattle. The service is friendly and there are tons of vegetarian options as well as small plates so you can try all sorts of different things. We recommend making reservations but they can usually squeeze in walk-ins if you decide to stop by last minute. Try the hummus (perfect for braces!) and the lentils ground with garlic.
- Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream – Multiple Locations in Seattle – Soothe your mouth with a cold treat. Just be sure to brush afterwards! Molly Moon’s ice cream is out of this world and the stores are charming. When it comes to the flavors, the original strawberry is delightful as are the more unique ones like Earl Grey and the seasonal strawberry thyme sorbet.
- Pike Place Chowder – Pike Place Market, 1530 Post Alley and Pacific Place Center, 600 Pine Street, 4th Floor – It doesn’t get much more braces-friendly than soup and these award-winning chowders aren’t to be missed if you’re in Seattle. For a classic, the New England clam chowder is fantastic or for some Northwest flavor, go with the seafood bisque.
Braces-Friendly Food in Mill Creek
- BMG Thai-Asian Restaurant – 16212 Bothell Everett Highway, Suite D – BMG Thai has our vote as one of the best restaurants in Mill Creek, WA. It’s comfortable, casual and kid-friendly with a wide range of Asian-inspired dishes. Start off with a soup. We like the miso soup and the tom yum. For your main dish, noodles and braces work well together and the pad see ew and drunken noodle are both excellent. You can’t go wrong with anything in the curry section of their menu either.
- Azul Restaurant and Lounge – Mill Creek Town Center, 15118 Main Street, Suite 100 – This upscale casual restaurant offers Mexican and Caribbean cuisine in Mill Creek Town Center. While hard tacos are rough on braces, soft tacos get the green light. The chicken tacos and blackened fish tacos are tasty and the buttermilk pancakes available during their popular weekend brunch will melt in your mouth.
- Skinny D’s Yogurt – 16212 Bothell Everett Highway, Suite A – Frozen yogurt is ice cream’s healthier cousin making it a great treat for the whole family and this self-serve shop is a lot of fun for the kids. Actually, who are we kidding? Adults will love this place too. Pick your frozen yogurt and then pile on the toppings of your choice. They even have non-dairy and sugar-free varieties. The banana cream pie and Italian style tart flavors will have you coming back for more. When it comes to topping, braces patients should skip the hard and chewy candies and nuts. Instead, adorn your yogurt with the whipped topping, crushed Oreos, sprinkles, chocolate syrup or brownies.
Braces-Friendly Food in Bothell
- Korea House – 20615 Bothell Everett Highway – Korea House serves up traditional Korean food along with fusion dishes. Most of the menu is braces-friendly. The kimchi jji-gae is a soft, comforting stew and the bibimbap with your choice of beef, pork, chicken or tofu is hearty and awesome.
- Russell’s Restaurant & Loft – 3305 Monte Villa Parkway – Dining at this converted barn turned restaurant is a very cool experience. While it’s not exactly kid-friendly, a lot of our Bothell braces patients are grown-ups and they need delicious meals too. The acclaimed grilled filet mignon served with mushroom risotto (be sure to cut up the filet into small pieces) and the fettuccine with sautéed prawns are top-notch. . Thanks to their partnership with local wineries, you can also enjoy a glass of the best wine the area has to offer. Reservations are a good idea.
- Salted Grape Café – 22121 17th Avenue SE, Building E 106 – You might miss this little café located in a business park but don’t let the understated appearance fool you; you’ll find some amazing fresh bites here. If you go during the breakfast hour, order the veggie hash (grilled vegetables, sautéed onions and potatoes with two over easy eggs and a side of toast). You’ll get a good dose of protein and nutrients without a lot of chewing.
Braces-Friendly Food in Monroe
- Benjarong Thai Restaurant – 19480 State Route 2 #D1 – While this is the second Thai joint on our list, we’d be remiss not to include it since it’s among the top restaurants in Monroe. Plus, Thai food gets the orthodontic thumbs up. Two of our favorite items are the eggplant (sautéed meat or tofu with eggplant, basil, bell pepper and onion in chili sauce) and the massaman curry.
- Bella Balducci’s – 19565 State Route 2 – Bella Balducci’s has Mediterranean food that’s not only easy on the mouth but also scrumptious and healthy. We’re fans of the Greek salad and gyro plate. Order the gyro plate over rice and steamed veggies instead of the pita bread for a braces-safe option.
- Big Daddy John’s – 114 N. Lewis Street – Big Daddy John’s serves traditional American and Southern comfort food. Think diner fare with a bit of BBQ thrown in. For braces food, have a burger (the Mondo Burger or veggie burger are great). The buns are on the soft side, but you may want to cut it up to be safe. Don’t forget to add a side of waffle fries.