Once your child gets braces, it will no longer be business as usual when it comes to their diet. It is time to start thinking about what and how they should be eating. While a bit limited, there are still a lot of food options at their disposal. Only that, some little more thought and effort needs to be put into it. Here we look at the top dietary tips that can help your child cope when they have braces.
Avoid Hard Foods
If your child has braces, this is one of the most important tips to follow. You want to ensure that they stay away from hard and crunchy foods, such as nuts and crackers. These can cause damage to the braces and make it more difficult for your child to eat. It will also cost you time as you may need to schedule an unplanned appointment with the orthodontist to get them fixed.
Apart from causing damage to the braces, hard foods can also cause a lot of discomfort for your child. This is especially if the braces have just been fitted or after an adjustment. As you wait for the sensitivity to fade off, you should stick to soft foods that do not require chewing or biting, such as smoothies, yogurt, and soups. This is because they will be gentler on your child’s teeth and gums, saving them from excess pain and irritation.
Give Your Child Stainless Food
Another caliber of foods that should be avoided when your child has braces is those that can stain the teeth. These are especially foods and drinks that are high in sugar content.
Normally, eating these types of foods would not be that bad as long as they brush their teeth properly afterward. Now, with braces, this can be a challenge. This is because we have some parts of the teeth being covered by the brackets, which means that they cannot be accessed during brushing. Hence, while the exposed parts will be cleaned, the covered ones will remain stained. This will leave patches on the teeth, which are not appealing. Therefore, the solution is to not have these foods in your child’s diet. As a bonus, your child will also be less prone to tooth decay.
Be Keen on Their Chewing Technique
In addition to eating the right food, the chewing technique is also crucial for kids with braces. Avoiding hard foods may not always be possible. This is because your kid may want to eat hard fruits and vegetables like carrots and apples. Not only are they sweet, but nutritious as well. So then, how do you retain them in your child’s diet while ensuring that they do not cause any harm?
The best way to minimize the damage caused by eating hard foods is by adjusting the chewing technique. They should avoid biting into hard foods with the front teeth. The force of your bite can cause the braces to loosen. Instead, you want to teach your child to chew hard foods with their back teeth.
You can assist them by cutting them up into smaller pieces. This will make it easier for their jaws to chew through and cause less strain on the braces.
Avoid Large Amounts of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages and Juices
Children with braces need to drink water or milk to help keep their mouths clean and moist. They also need to take calcium supplements as well as vitamin D supplements, which help them absorb calcium from their diets. Sugar-sweetened beverages and juices contain little or no vitamins or minerals that children need for good health.
Which Foods Can My Child Eat?
Having braces does not mean your child can no longer enjoy tasty food. There are still many food options that they can have. For instance, they can still have dairy products, as they are mostly safe for braces and teeth in general. For example, you can opt for some soft cheeses and yogurt. Milk will also make a good alternative to other sugary drinks such as juice and soda.
Some soft fruits like bananas and plums can also apply. Soft grains like rice and noodles are also a great option. Your child can also enjoy soft cakes and pancakes. Soft meats like chicken and fish are also not off the table. Indulging in some sweet treats like ice creams and milkshakes once in a while is also welcome. But, of course, with some moderation.
Which Foods, in particular, should be avoided?
As earlier mentioned, biting into whole apples or carrots is highly discouraged. Rather, they can be cut into small pieces or cooked for softening.
Hard bread is also another thing that needs to be avoided. This also included crusty pizzas. Instead, softer bread varieties are encouraged or remove the hard crusts.
Other food variants that will either get stuck in the braces or end up dislodging them include nuts, popcorn, tough meat, chewing gum, and others. They should therefore be avoided as well.
Getting braces comes with some changes, including dietary ones. Giving your child the right food will help protect their braces from getting damaged as well as minimize the amount of discomfort they will feel.