What can they eat? Healthy alternatives for children with braces
Staring at the pamphlet titled “Do Not Eat” with images of hard candies, potato chips, soda, pretzels, popcorn, chewy candy and more, 10-year-old Daniel sighs in defeat. Daniel now wears braces and must say goodbye to all the food he has grown to love in the first ten years of his life. Daniel’s mother hates to see her son this way but understands the importance of braces. Eating any of the foods listed above can damage the braces and prolong the amount of time the child needs to wear braces.
Fortunately, there are meals and foods that Daniel can eat, which are delicious and do not risk harming the braces in the process.
A simple breakfast item that is easy to prepare in a hurry, oatmeal is a great option for breakfast. The oatmeal will easily wash out with water and brush one’s teeth after the meal. While a child may not jump at the idea of having oatmeal for breakfast, a parent can help mix in a little honey and different types of fruit for better flavor. Oatmeal has multiple options for the child to pick and choose a favorite flavor while being healthy.
Pasta is another delicious option for children with braces. From spaghetti to ravioli, cooked pasta is smooth, easily chewable and easy to clean out of one’s teeth. The child with braces just needs to be careful when cleaning his or her teeth after dinner and check for any stray bits of pasta.
In association with the American Dental Association, ADA, mouthhealthykids.org explains that lean proteins need to be a part of one’s diet. Eggs made with milk will have a fluffy texture to them that kids with braces can eat with little issue. Lean proteins can also help to strengthen teeth as well, including skinless poultry and fish. Be sure to cut the food into smaller bites to help prevent pieces from getting stuck in the brackets or wires.
Certain fruits and vegetables
Mouthhealthy.org writes that since certain fruits and vegetables “are high in water and fiber, they help to balance the sugars they contain and help to clean your teeth.” However, large fruit, such as apples, may be easier to eat when cut up into smaller slices. With corn on the cob, a parent will need to cut the corn off of the cob and have the child eat it in individual pieces. More importantly, have the child brush and floss after to ensure that there are no bits stuck in the braces or teeth.
One difficult area for both parents and children who wear braces is the inability to eat candy. Children with a sweet tooth have to hold back from eating many forms of candy for the issue of causing more harm than good to the braces. Fortunately, lollipops and other candy containing xylitol may be a solution. According to Xylitol.org, “Xylitol is a natural sweetener derived from the fibrous parts of plants,” which “does not break down like sugar and can help keep a neutral pH level in the mouth.” As long as a child with braces does not bite down on the xylitol lollipop, then a child will not harm the braces and help his or her teeth stay healthy.
These are only a few options that children with braces can eat. The most important part, regardless of what the child eats, is that the child keeps up regular dental hygiene and does not break a bracket or knock a wire loose. Damage to the braces will not only cause immense pain for the child but will also risk lengthening the amount of time the child will need to wear braces. For more information on what foods are helpful or harmful to braces, give us a call.
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