Posted on November 21, 2023
It’s simply a fact that most people who wear braces are children. This is in part because, according to the American Association of Orthodontists, the best time to begin orthodontic treatment is at the age of seven. Adjusting your child’s diet is a critical part of kids’ braces care. Certain foods can damage brackets or wires and get stuck, causing painful irritation. When selecting meals and snacks during treatment, focus on nutritious options that are gentle and friendly on braces. Here’s some information about which foods are best to eat with braces.
Fruits and vegetables provide valuable vitamins, minerals, and fiber, but hard, crunchy produce like apples, carrots, and celery can potentially bend or snap brace wires. Stick to softer fruits and cooked vegetables like bananas, melons, steamed broccoli, mashed potatoes, overcooked peas, and well-boiled carrots. These provide nutrition without being a braces hazard.
Dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt are excellent options because they offer protein and calcium for strong teeth development while being easy to comfortably chew and swallow. Also, be aware that extremely sticky cheeses like mozzarella can cling to the brackets on kids braces.
Whole grain foods like bread, crackers, breakfast cereals, and pasta provide important nutrients like fiber, B vitamins, iron, and magnesium. Choose softer varieties of breads and pitas and be sure to cut foods into bite-sized pieces. Stay away from very hard, crunchy grains like thick bagels, granola with nuts, and crunchy tortilla chips which can bend wires.
Meats including chicken, turkey, fish, and eggs offer beneficial protein for growth and healing. However, to avoid damage, they should be prepared so they’re tender and not chewy. Methods like slow cooking, stewing, poaching, and braising make meats easy to chew and swallow. Avoid bone-in meats like chicken wings, spareribs, and steaks during treatment.
Soups, broths, smoothies, nutritional shakes, and other foods that are liquid or able to be blended require very little chewing at all. Pureeing harder fruits or vegetables in the blender eliminates the braces hazard while retaining some texture. Soup can be slurped through a spoon carefully positioned between brackets. Drink hot or cold beverages through a straw placed meticulously between wires.
With some adjustments, your child can still enjoy tasty, nutritious foods throughout their kids braces treatment. If you suspect your child needs braces, you should bring them in as soon as possible. If you’re looking for an orthodontist, we’re accepting new patients. Call us now to schedule an appointment.