Orthodontic Braces: What’s a Kid to Eat?
If your child has been fitted with orthodontic braces, our NYC orthodontist will give you complete instructions about brushing and flossing, as well as some recommendations about which foods to avoid. As a handy reference, I’m posting this in blog form so you don’t have to worry if you misplace the papers after you leave our Lower Manhattan pediatric dentist office!
Easy Foods to Eat When Braces Are New
At first, your child’s mouth will be a little sore, as the teeth are starting to shift just a bit and as a result of inserting the appliance. Stick to soft foods, avoiding tougher meats and super crunchy raw veggies. While icy foods, such as popsicles, can sooth sore teeth and gums, keep in mind that these sugar-laden treats also bathe the teeth in acid, which increases the risk of cavities, so be sure to have your child rinse his or her mouth afterwards. It’s fine to enjoy a burger, but we advise you to cut it up and have your child eat it with a fork for the first few days, to avoid aggravating an already sore mouth.
- Fruits without pits, such as berries, oranges, grapes and bananas
- Thin crackers or cookies
- Mashed potatoes and every child’s fave: macaroni and cheese or spaghetti
- Soft meats such as chicken and fish, cut into small pieces
Foods to Avoid with Braces:
The point of food avoidance with braces is to protect the device from breakage. Breaking a band can result in an extra trip to our office, and it can inevitably happen when you already have a packed schedule!
- Popcorn: the hulls easily get jammed in the appliance and are tough to remove and biting into an unpopped kernel can break a wire. If you can find hull-less popcorn, that can work, but confirm with your orthodontist first.
- Chewing ice. Some kids have a habit of doing this, so ask yours if she does and if so, remind her to avoid this until her teeth are beautifully straight and braces are removed.
- Sticky foods like caramel, chewing gum, Gummy Bears, Tootsie Rolls, and the like
- Hard candies
- Hard foods like nuts and hard pretzels
- Foods that require you to bite into them, like apples, corn on the cob, etc. Your child can eat corn “off” the cob and apples when cut up
- Chewing on hard items like pencils, fingernails and pens must be avoided
The Bottom Line:
Braces are a wonderful invention for those of us whose teeth are crowded. The results can be life-changing and, when directions are followed, the treatment schedule can be kept!