Braces for your child are a big investment of both time and money. Having a straight, beautiful smile will do a lot for your child’s self-esteem and self-image. It’s important they know the right foods and drinks to consume while they have braces so nothing moves out of place. Having to make extra trips to the orthodontist is annoying, and interferes with your child’s progress..
There’s a general rule of thumb to go by: if it’s sticky, hard, or acidic, don’t eat it. It might seem hard to limit all foods of this nature at first, but your child will grow used to it in no time. They’ll pick up better “braces-friendly” snacking habits.
When it comes to eating with braces, there are some foods that are worse than others and can result in brackets coming off, even from consuming them once. If you want to avoid the hassle and expense of scheduling emergency orthodontist trips, make sure to steer clear of the following foods:
Dried fruits are an unstuck bracket waiting to happen. While they may be a delicious and healthy snack in moderation, they still contain quite a bit of sugar and their sticky consistency can easily take a bracket with them when you’re chewing.
It’s funny how healthy foods can incidentally be bad for braces. Raw veggies pack such a crunch that they can actually dislodge braces. That said, veggies such as carrots, cauliflower, and jicama are best served steamed or boiled so that they are softened and can be bit into easily. Celery is especially bad for braces. Not only is it dangerously crunchy, but the “strings” in celery can also get wound up in brackets.
Potato chips are crunchy, and that’s a problem, but it’s not the only reason they’re not the best snack choice for kids with braces. Starchy food sticks around in the mouth well after your child is finished eating, breaking down into simple sugars that erode enamel. This effect is exacerbated with braces or any other dental appliance. Sugars stick to the hardware, creating pockets where sugar and bacteria can fester. If your child does eat chips or other starchy or sugary foods, make sure they brush their teeth immediately afterward and use their special braces cleaner tool.
This one should be a no-brainer. Sticky candies such as caramels, tootsie rolls, suckers, taffy, or any combination of the above will quickly do a number on braces. Same as with dried fruit, sticky candy clings to brackets and is prolific at ripping them off your teeth. Sticky candy is damaging enough as it is, regardless of whether you have braces.
Nuts! No nuts?! It may seem like all the good foods are off-limits, but bear with us. We’ll give you a list of braces-safe foods shortly.
Nuts are crunchy, and break apart into small, sharp pieces in our mouths, and can wreak havoc on brackets and bands. In fact, nuts are one of the most common foods that cause emergency trips to the orthodontist.
So, nothing hard, nothing sticky, nothing crunchy, nothing starchy, and nothing sugary. Not even raw vegetables! What is your child supposed to eat, you ask?
- Braces-friendly foods:
- Pasta with any type of sauce
- Soft fruit such as bananas or grapes
- Peanut butter and jelly
- Light crackers or cookies
- Mashed potatoes
- Steamed or boiled veggies
Focusing on what your child can have instead of what they can’t will make the whole process much easier. A lot of kids will harm their braces at some point, either by accident or by eating something that caused the break. Don’t worry about it too much; just learn and move on. Knowing the right foods to eat and which ones to avoid can be the key to keeping your kid’s braces in tip-top shape, hopefully until the treatment is finished. They’ll have a beautiful, straight smile and you’ll be spared extra dental bills. Just remember the rule of thumb: if it’s sticky, crunchy, or sugary, it’s no good for braces.
Treehouse Dental provides kid-friendly dental services in Toronto, Thornhill, and Etobicoke. Give us a call at (416) 922-2668 or visit our contact page here for more information or to set up an appointment.