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Retainers and Nutrition: How to Eat Well While Wearing Them

April 11, 2024

Maintaining a nutritious diet is essential for overall health and well-being, especially during orthodontic treatment with retainers. While wearing retainers, it's essential to make smart food choices and practice proper eating techniques to ensure the effectiveness of your treatment and prevent damage to your appliances. In this article, we'll explore how to eat well while wearing retainers, including tips for choosing foods, eating techniques, and oral hygiene practices.

1. Choose Soft and Nutrient-Dense Foods:

When wearing retainers, opt for soft and nutrient-dense foods that are easy to chew and won't damage your appliances. Examples include:

  • Cooked vegetables (e.g., steamed broccoli, mashed sweet potatoes)
  • Soft fruits (e.g., bananas, berries, applesauce)
  • Protein sources (e.g., tofu, cooked beans, scrambled eggs)
  • Dairy products (e.g., yogurt, soft cheeses)
  • Whole grains (e.g., oatmeal, soft bread, cooked pasta)

Avoid hard, sticky, or crunchy foods that can damage your retainers or get stuck in them, such as nuts, popcorn, chips, and hard candies.

2. Cut Food into Small Pieces:

To minimize the risk of damaging your retainers, cut food into small, bite-sized pieces before eating. This will make it easier to chew and swallow without putting excessive pressure on your appliances. Use a knife or kitchen shears to cut fruits, vegetables, meats, and other foods into manageable pieces.

3. Chew with Your Back Teeth:

When wearing retainers, try to chew with your back teeth (molars) rather than your front teeth. This will help distribute the force of chewing more evenly and reduce the risk of damaging your retainers. Take small bites and chew slowly and carefully to avoid putting unnecessary stress on your appliances.

4. Remove Retainers for Certain Foods:

For hard or sticky foods that pose a high risk of damaging your retainers, consider removing them before eating. Store your retainers safely in their case and enjoy your meal without worrying about damaging your appliances. Remember to brush your teeth and clean your retainers before reinserting them after eating.

5. Stay Hydrated:

Drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated and help rinse away food particles and bacteria that can accumulate around your retainers. Hydration is essential for overall health and oral hygiene, especially when wearing orthodontic appliances.

6. Practice Good Oral Hygiene:

Maintain good oral hygiene practices while wearing retainers to prevent plaque buildup and maintain the health of your teeth and gums. Brush your teeth after meals and snacks, floss regularly, and clean your retainers as directed by your orthodontist to keep them free of bacteria and debris.

7. Follow Orthodontist's Recommendations:

Lastly, follow your orthodontist's recommendations for retainer wear and dietary restrictions. They can provide personalized guidance based on your orthodontic treatment plan and specific dietary needs. If you have any questions or concerns about eating with retainers, don't hesitate to consult with your orthodontist for advice.


Maintaining a nutritious diet while wearing retainers is possible with smart food choices, proper eating techniques, and good oral hygiene practices. By choosing soft and nutrient-dense foods, cutting food into small pieces, chewing with your back teeth, staying hydrated, and following your orthodontist's recommendations, you can enjoy a healthy diet without compromising the effectiveness of your orthodontic treatment. Remember to prioritize oral hygiene and consult with your orthodontist if you have any questions or concerns about eating with retainers. With mindful eating habits and proper care, you can support your orthodontic treatment journey while nourishing your body with nutritious foods.