When a child gets new braces, it’s a big adjustment, that involves not only getting used to what their new mouth feels like, but also changing their diet. Foods that are too crunchy or sticky can break off brackets or damage wires, as can biting straight into hard foods. These foods are also harder to clean out from under wires and brackets making it more likely for a child to develop cavities.
Eating during the first few days
Luckily there are still a lot of delicious foods that children can still enjoy, even at the very beginning. When a child begins their orthodontic treatment, they may experience slight discomfort and their teeth can be sensitive for a short while. In the first few days that they are getting used to their braces, it can be helpful to eat foods that require less chewing. Foods like soup, smoothies, yogurt, and pudding can be eaten without any chewing. Soft foods like bananas, ice cream, oatmeal, cooked pasta, and eggs are soft enough that the chewing should not exacerbate any sensitivity the child is feeling. The sensitivity should subside in a few days, at which point they can start to each their favorite foods again, with some minor adjustments!
Foods to avoid
Children can still eat most of their regular diet, though foods like pizza or chicken should be cut into smaller pieces and chewed with their back teeth. Corn on the cob and meat on the bone should be cut off as well. When it doubt, it’s ideal to cut food up and not bite into something using their front teeth as it’s possible to break off a front bracket if the food is too hard. Wires can also be displaced when eating. In either case, the tooth or teeth without a bracket or attached wire are no longer moving. The teeth can even begin to move back into their original positions, costing more time and money to correct.
Foods to avoid include hard, sticky, or crunchy items. This includes:
- Chewy candies (Starbursts, caramels, bubble gum)
- Hard or chewy breads (bagels, pizza crusts, pretzels)
- Granola bars
- Hard nacho chips
- Whole nuts
- Raw carrots
Chocolates are soft and braces safe, as are sodas, and sports drinks, though these foods can cause tooth decay and it’s best for a child to brush their teeth immediately after enjoying.
The best foods for a child in braces are going to be the healthiest options. Fruits, vegetables, protein, and items low in added sugar. Healthy teeth and gums come from not only brushing but also maintaining overall health and these foods will help!
Helping your child to make correct food choices will ensure that their orthodontic treatment progresses as planned, without extra time or cost. It may be difficult to avoid certain foods for the length of treatment, but doing so now will ensure the braces come off quicker!