What Foods Can You Eat With An Expander: A Comprehensive Guide

If you have an expander in your mouth, you may be wondering what foods are safe to eat without causing discomfort or damaging the device. Well, the good news is that there are still plenty of options available to satisfy your cravings! While it’s important to be mindful of certain types of food that can get stuck or damage the expander, there are still many soft and easy-to-chew options that you can enjoy.

Eating yogurt (Credit: canva)

What Is an Expander?

Dental or Palatal Expander (Credit: canva)

An expander is a dental device used to widen the upper jaw in order to create more space for teeth.

It is a dental device used to correct issues related to the upper jaw, such as narrow arches or crossbites.

It consists of two parts: a metal framework attached to the molars and a screw-like mechanism in the middle. The device works by applying gentle pressure on the bones and gradually expanding them over time.

Oatmeal Porridge with Apples (Credit: canva)

Foods You Can Eat with an Expander

Here are some options for meals and snacks that will be gentle on your teeth:

  • Dairy products: Yogurt, milkshakes, smoothies, pudding
  • Soft grains: Cooked pasta, oatmeal, mashed potatoes
  • Protein sources: Scrambled eggs, tofu, fish without bones
  • Cooked vegetables: Steamed carrots or broccoli florets
  • Fruits: Applesauce, mashed bananas, or avocados
  • Soft bread and cereals: Pancakes, waffles (not too crispy), soft bread without crusts

It’s also important to cut food into small pieces and avoid sticky or hard items that may put pressure on the expander.


  • Avoid chewing gum as it can get stuck in the appliance.
  • Be cautious when eating meat or fibrous vegetables like celery – consider cutting them into smaller portions.
  • Opt for room temperature or slightly warm foods instead of extremely hot dishes.

Remember: Maintain good oral hygiene by brushing your teeth after each meal to prevent any food particles from getting trapped around the expander. Brushing after every meal is highly recommended!

Food CategoryExamples
Dairy productsYogurt
Soft grainsMashed potatoes
Protein sourcesScrambled eggs
Cooked vegetablesSteamed carrots
Soft breads/cerealsPancakes

By following these guidelines and choosing appropriate foods while wearing an expander, you can ensure a comfortable dining experience while maintaining proper dental care during this time.


Avoid Hard Foods (Credit: canva)

Foods to Avoid with an Expander

  1. Sticky or Chewy Foods: Stay away from sticky candies, taffy, caramels, gum (both regular and sugar-free), and chewy snacks like gummy bears or dried fruit. These can get stuck in the expander and make it difficult to clean.
  2. Hard Foods: Crunching on hard foods like ice cubes, popcorn kernels, nuts, hard pretzels or chips can put excessive pressure on the expander and may lead to breakage.
  3. Crunchy Fruits & Vegetables: While fruits and vegetables are generally healthy choices for your diet, certain ones should be consumed with caution when you have an expander in place. Avoid biting directly into apples or carrots as this could damage the appliance; instead cut them into smaller pieces before eating.
  4. Foods that Require Excessive Force: It’s best to avoid tearing meat off bones with your teeth or using excessive force while chewing tough cuts of meat as these actions may cause harm to your expander.
  5. Carbonated Drinks: Carbonated beverages such as soda contain high levels of acid which can erode tooth enamel around the expansion appliance making it less effective over time.

Tips for Eating Comfortably with an Expander

Eating with an expander can be a little challenging at first, but with some tips and tricks, you’ll be able to enjoy your meals without any discomfort. Here are some suggestions to help make eating more comfortable:

  1. Choose Soft Foods: Opt for soft foods that require minimal chewing. This can include mashed potatoes, yogurt, smoothies, soups, scrambled eggs, and cooked vegetables.
  2. Cut Food into Small Pieces: To make it easier to chew and swallow, cut your food into small bite-sized pieces. This will reduce strain on the expander and minimize any potential discomfort.
  3. Avoid Sticky or Hard Foods: Stay away from sticky candies, gum, caramel treats, or hard foods like nuts and popcorn kernels. These can get stuck in the expander or cause damage to it.
  4. Chew Slowly and Mindfully: Take your time when eating and chew slowly to prevent putting excessive pressure on the expander. Being mindful of your chewing technique will help ensure a more comfortable experience.
  5. Rinse Your Mouth Frequently: Rinse your mouth with water after each meal or snack to remove any food particles that may have become trapped around the expander wires or brackets.
  6. Use Orthodontic Wax if Needed: If you find that certain areas of the expander are causing irritation against your cheeks or tongue while eating, apply orthodontic wax provided by your orthodontist for added comfort.
  7. Stay Hydrated: Drinking enough water throughout the day helps keep your mouth lubricated and makes swallowing easier while wearing an expander.

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