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Did you recently get braces? Congratulations! You’re on your way to a brand new you. At Okuda & Noorda Orthodontics, we think summer is the best time to get braces. You’re likely off school or work (especially this year), so you have plenty of time to get used to your new hardware. You also have time to adjust to the new rules to life with braces, including how to brush and floss, and where to find braces-friendly food.

Truthfully, not a lot changes when you have braces, but you will need to pay extra attention to what you eat — and more importantly, what you don’t eat. Certain foods can damage your braces, increasing your treatment time, so it will take longer to see your new smile. But fortunately, there is still plenty of tasty braces-friendly food you can eat. By following a few simple rules, you’ll never feel like you’re missing out.

Here’s what to eat with braces, what foods to avoid during orthodontic treatment, and the best restaurants in Henderson, Las Vegas and beyond.

What Foods Can I Eat with Braces?

The reason we tell you to avoid certain foods with braces isn’t because we want you to be miserable during treatment. Quite the opposite: we want you to get the most out of your orthodontic treatment so you can see your new smile as soon as possible! The better you take care of your braces, the sooner you’ll get them off. And eating only foods that are safe for braces is a big part of that.

The good news is that you can eat most things with braces, so it shouldn’t be too much of an adjustment. You’ll just need to steer clear of anything that could break your brackets or wires, or anything that could get stuck in your teeth. After all, it’s harder to clean your teeth appropriately with braces in the way.

So instead of listing foods you can eat, let’s talk about the foods to avoid with braces — because that list is a whole lot shorter! Basically, you’ll want to avoid anything sticky, crunchy, hard, chewy, or anything you have to bite into. So things like popcorn, chips, hard candies, gummies, or corn-on-the-cob are all off the table. If anything falls into one of those categories, you’re better off waiting until after treatment to enjoy.

Braces-Friendly Restaurants in Henderson

Dining out with braces (or getting take out) is when things get a little trickier. It’s easy to make braces-friendly food at home, but what about when you go to your favorite Henderson or Las Vegas restaurants? Here’s a list of some of our favorite spots in town, complete with menu suggestions for diners with braces.

1. Pizza Rock at Green Valley Ranch – 2300 Paseo Verde Parkway, Henderson, NV

For the coolest place to get the best pizza in Henderson, head over to Pizza Rock at Green Valley Ranch. This rock-n-roll themed restaurant serves up award-winning pies by 13-time World Pizza Champion Tony Gemignani. And fortunately, pizza can be a braces-friendly food! That is, as long as you cut your crust into bite-sized pieces, since the dough could get caught in your braces if you bite right in. With both American and classic Italian-style pizzas, there’s truly a pie for everyone at Pizza Rock. We recommend The Mob Boss for meat lovers or The Verdura Veggie Pizza for vegetarians. Open for dine-in and take out.

2. Penn’s Thai House – 724 W Sunset Road, Henderson, NV

You wouldn’t expect to find made-from-scratch, authentic Thai cuisine in Henderson, but Penn’s Thai House is the real deal. Everything on the menu is made in house so you know you’re getting the very best. Curries, pad thai, soups, fried rice — Thai food is perfect for braces. Try the red curry if you’re looking for a kick of spice or the larb if you want to try something new. Really, no matter what you choose at Penn’s, your tummy — and your teeth! — will be happy.

3. Juan’s Flaming Fajitas & Cantina – 9640 W Tropicana, Las Vegas, NV

Who doesn’t love a night of tacos, fajitas and quesadillas? All your Mexican favorites are safe to eat with braces, as long as you’re enjoying your food in bite-sized pieces. With locations in both Las Vegas and Henderson, Juan’s is a neighborhood gem that promises fun for the whole family. There’s even a kids’ menu for little eaters. Though the menu includes everything from taco salads to ceviche to burritos, Juan’s famous fajitas are not to be missed. Juan’s is open for dine-in and take out.

4. Locale – #106 7995 Blue Diamond Road, Las Vegas, NV

If you’re in the mood for a more upscale night out (or in!), Locale has you covered. This traditional Italian restaurant in Las Vegas has everything you need for a memorable dining experience — whether you grab a table or pick up for your dinner curbside. Pasta and fish dishes are all fair game for braces, as are meat-centric meals as long as you cut your food into bite-sized pieces. Yep, we keep saying it because it matters!

Eating with braces can take a little time to get used to, but once you’ve memorized the simple rules, it’s easy as pie. Have questions about braces-friendly food? Ready to start your journey to a straighter smile? Contact Okuda & Noorda Orthodontics to book a free consultation today.

Dr. Okuda

Author Dr. Okuda

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