As a kid, wearing braces can seem daunting, especially throughout some of the more important years of their childhood like going on a first date or graduating high school. Braces may make your child feel self-conscious about their appearance, but at the end of their treatment, they’ll be living with beautiful, healthy, straight teeth.
Along with affecting their appearance, orthodontic treatment can be challenging to deal with for kids because they have some daily limitations due to the fact that they’re made of metal wires and brackets. Dr. Trish Takacs states that one major restriction of braces is the type of food you’re allowed to eat.
Certain foods can impact the progress of your child’s braces treatment as they can break wires, loosen brackets, get stuck in your teeth, and cause tooth decay. Find out what kinds of food your son or daughter should avoid and how it can be beneficial for you and them.
Foods to Stay Away From with Braces
As a parent, it’s always hard to control what your child does when you’re not around. While they wear braces, the types of food they eat when they’re at school or with friends is one of the many things you can’t supervise.
Informing them of the foods they should watch out for while wearing their braces is crucial for the success of their treatment. Plus, it’ll decrease the risk of you having to pay more for additional care if something were to go wrong.
Whether it’s crunchy, hard, or sticky, here are the top five foods to avoid while wearing braces:
Although this favored movie time snack is hard to pass up, if your kid is wearing braces, they should definitely pass up on popcorn. Biting into a half-cooked popcorn kernel can easily break a bracket or wire, affecting their orthodontic treatment. A thin husk of a kernel may also get wedges between their teeth or braces, making it difficult to remove and potentially leading to an infection.
It’s extremely common that children always have a sweet tooth and often crave candy at almost any time of the day. It’s usually acceptable to allow your child to enjoy candy from time to time, but throughout their orthodontic treatment is when they should resist it.
Sticky candy like caramels, gum, taffy, and gummy bears will easily get stuck in between braces and bend wires. Hard candies such as lollipops, nutty chocolate bars, or jawbreakers are also bad to eat while wearing braces because they can completely break off a bracket if they bite into improperly. Dr. Richard Robinette states that these sugary candies can lead to cavities and cause damage to the tooth’s surface.
3. Some Bread
Unfortunately, there are even some types of bread that your child should avoid while wearing braces. Hard, crusty pieces of bread can be tough to chew and can easily dislodge a wire from their bracket.
These kinds of bread your kid should avoid include:
- Hard pretzels
- Toasted bagel
- French bread
4. Hard Fruits & Veggies
There are also certain fruits and vegetables that shouldn’t be eaten while wearing braces, and a majority of them are ones that you have to forcefully bite into. Whole apples, raw carrots, pears corn on the cob, and uncooked broccoli or cauliflower can quickly pop off your child’s bracket.
Instead, if they really want to eat harder fruits and veggies, you can cut them up into bite-sized pieces that can be simply be chewed with their back teeth. You can also cook down the vegetable so they’re softer and easier to consume.
5. Tough/Crunchy Snacks
There are also certain daytime snacks your child should eliminate from their diet throughout their braces treatment. Many kinds of snacks are crunchy and can loosen their wires or poke and infect their gums.
Snacks to steer clear from include:
- Beef Jerky
- Trail mix
- Crunchy tacos
- Ice cubes
A Trick for Your Kids to Continue Eating Their Favorite Foods
Luckily, if your son or daughter want to continue eating the foods they love without harming their orthodontic treatment, there may be a way for them to do so. By cutting up food into smaller pieces, choosing softer foods, and eating slowly, this will all help protect their wires and brackets, all while making eating less painful and difficult with their braces.
When possible, cut up these hard foods into smaller pieces and chew with your back teeth so you can eliminate the risk of a broken wire or bracket– veggies, croutons, fruit, bread, pizza, meat, burgers, and sandwiches.
Wondering What Your Child Can Eat?
Although there are certain foods your child should omit from their diet, there are plenty of foods they still are able to enjoy. Dr. Amanda Sheehan always recommends a well-balanced diet for all children, whether they’re wearing braces or not. This will help them maintain good oral health while they’re young and continue the practice well into adulthood.
If you’re wondering what to pack for your kid’s lunch or unsure of what food to buy for dinner while they wear braces, here’s a list of food that won’t cause harm to their smile:
- Yogurt and ice cream
- Tender protein
- Soft fruit like banana and strawberries
- Cooked vegetables
- Soft cookies
- Cheese and eggs
- Mashed potatoes
- Peanut butter and jelly
- Pasta dishes
- Seafood like tuna or salmon
- Pancakes or muffins
If you’re unsure about which foods can ruin your child’s orthodontic treatment, always try to consult their orthodontist or dentist. It won’t be long until their braces are off, their smile is beaming, and they’re allowed to eat any type of food they want.