Getting braces takes some adjustment. Since these orthodontic devices will be in your child’s mouth for at least a year, there are some things you can do to make it easier on him. Getting braces doesn’t mean you have to give up your favorite foods but you will need to modify some things that you put in your mouth and how you eat.
Children need to be mindful of what to eat because food can get stuck in the braces and make it difficult to remove or clean. Sometimes, it may even cause some of the braces to come off.
Here’s a guide on how to choose foods for a child with braces.
- Avoid hard, crunchy, sticky and gummy food. These food items are not braces friendly and are most difficult to remove. Food and snacks like gum, hard bread such as French bread, crackers, taffy are off limits for the time being.
- Pick food that you can cut up into small pieces, instead of selecting food you need to bite into. Chicken, pizza, fruits like apples and pears can still be enjoyed as long as it’s cut up into bite size pieces. Burgers may be difficult to bite into, so you may want to stick with chicken nuggets.
- Stay with soft food, especially during the first few days the braces are installed, or right after an adjustment. Things like pasta, oatmeal, bananas, avocados and soft breads are muffins are easier to eat.
- Soup is your friend when you can’t chew. Serve all kinds of soup such as alphabet soup, cream of mushroom or potato soup to your child, especially when the teeth are sore because of the braces. It requires hardly any chewing and can be filling and makes a great main dish.
- Try pureeing vegetables and mix it in sauces for their pasta or even in their soup. It’s a great way to sneak in vegetables (and get the nutrients!) that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to eat. Broccoli (an excellent source of calcium for strong teeth), cauliflower, squash, potatoes and carrots can be steamed then pureed in a blender. It won’t get stuck in their braces and adds a power pack of nutrients and flavor to their favorite foods.
- Make sure your child still gets a balanced diet. Braces are a great excuse to limit candy and gum since all the excess sugar is not good for your child’s health anyway. Even by taking out some food items temporarily, you can compensate by loading up on soft vegetables and fruits.
- Instead of meat, try tofu. Tofu is high in protein and calcium and can be cooked just about any way and mixed with any sauce your child likes.
- As a treat or for dessert, try frozen yogurt and ice fruit pops. Cold things are very soothing in the mouth. Just be mindful of the amount of sugar.
You may check cookbooks or online sites for braces friendly recipes made with children in mind. Getting braces may even be a way to get your child to eat healthier. With or without braces, just make sure that your child visits the dentist or orthodontist regularly and brushes his teeth after every meal.