Eating when wearing braces for kids does pose a few challenges. Fortunately, with the right information, tips, and tricks, it can be easy for parents to help their children make small dietary changes to make it easier to eat when wearing braces. We can go over all of this in detail during a consultation or routine appointment with our office. In the meantime, here are some ideas for parents to implement at home.
Tip number one: avoid anything sticky
This is actually easier than it sounds. All it takes is evaluating a child's diet and identifying anything that they are currently eating that is seriously sticky. An example would be gum, fruit snacks or caramel chews. Fortunately, as a parent, keeping these away from kids is as simple as not buying them at the grocery store. Granted, this may mean that other children in the household cannot eat these treats either; but it is usually possible to substitute them for an alternative that everyone will enjoy. For example, gummy snacks may be replaced with granola bars or with real fruit which is even healthier. Since sticky foods can pull on brackets and wires, avoiding them is an important step for preventing damage to the braces.
Tip number two: cut out foods that are too hard
Just like it is important to avoid the sticky stuff, foods that are seriously hard can also dislodge the brackets and wires. We recommend that parents avoid giving their children nuts and popcorn, for example, since they both are culprits for causing dental damage. Just look for softer substitutions. For things like hard carrots, simply steam them instead of giving them to children raw.
Tip number three: cut things into small pieces
Some foods are challenging to eat when wearing braces for kids not because of their texture or consistency but because of their size. For example, it can be difficult to bite into a hamburger or sandwich because the food is going to get stuck in between the brackets and wires. This is uncomfortable and embarrassing. Instead of giving a child a large hamburger to bite into, simply cut it up into small bite-size pieces. This only takes a minute to do and if the child is older it is possible to teach them to cut up their food on their own. Once everything is bite-sized, they can enjoy their meal without a problem, without embarrassment and without food getting stuck in their braces.
Tip number four: buy them a water bottle
It can be difficult for kids to brush their teeth after every snack. Even though we recommend it, we realize this is not very practical. Instead, simply buy the child a durable water bottle that can be carried throughout the day and refilled as necessary. If they drink a lot of water, it will help to dislodge food that sticks in between braces and keep their mouth fresh.
Tip number five: keep soft foods in the house
Immediately after having braces placed or any adjustment, the child's teeth may be sore for a couple of days. Keeping soft foods in the house like yogurt, cottage cheese, Jell-O, and soup are beneficial because they may only wish to eat these items for a day or two.
Visit us for more tips on how to eat when wearing braces for kids
We encourage parents to schedule an appointment with our office for additional tips on how to eat comfortably and safely when wearing braces for kids.
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