If your child needs traditional metal braces to fix the alignment of their teeth, taking proper care of their teeth ensures their orthodontic treatment is more effective. By eating the correct foods while wearing braces, your child maintains their healthy teeth and avoids damaging their braces.
Staci Brunell, DMD, and Gina Gill, DMD, our pediatric dentist and orthodontist at Yorktown Pediatric Dentistry in Yorktown Heights, NY, recommend a wide variety of foods your child can eat with braces that they’ll enjoy. Learn what foods your child can and can’t eat when they have braces.
Foods to eat with braces
The foods your child can enjoy with braces depend on how recently they’ve had their braces. Here are the foods our team recommends when first getting braces, and after your child has had braces for a longer time period.
What to eat after first getting braces
After your child initially gets braces, their teeth and mouth might feel a bit tender and sore as their mouth adjusts to the braces. During this time, your child will feel most comfortable eating soft, healthy foods that are easy to chew, including:
- Mashed potatoes
- Scrambled eggs
- Soft fruit
If your child’s mouth feels tender after an appointment to adjust their braces, they can also eat these foods until they feel less sore.
What to eat after adjusting to braces
Once your child feels more comfortable with braces, they can continue to enjoy the soft foods they were eating as well as a greater variety of foods. You can ensure your child eats a healthy diet that protects their braces and includes enough fruits and vegetables by giving them cooked, moist vegetables and soft fruits.
Additionally, you can make the following foods for your child:
- Tender, lean meat cuts
- Soft grains and bread
- Smooth nut butter
- Yogurt and milk
In general, aim to feed your child a healthy, balanced diet of foods that are softer and easier to chew.
Foods to avoid with braces
While they’re wearing braces, your child needs to use caution when eating foods that are hard, chewy, and sticky. These foods put your child at risk of damaging their braces’ brackets and wires.
Additionally, foods and drinks high in sugar coat your child’s teeth with plaque, which makes it harder for your child to keep their teeth healthy with braces.
After your child is used to their braces, have them avoid the following foods:
- Seeds and nuts
- Raw, hard fruits and vegetables
- Tough, chewy meat
- Sugary snacks like candy, cookies, and ice cream
- Hard snacks like popcorn, pretzels, crackers, and chips
- Hard crusts
If your child wants to eat certain foods on this list such as harder fruits, you can help your child try them out with caution by cutting the food up into tiny pieces and encouraging your child to chew carefully. Don’t try this with foods that are sticky or extremely hard.
Eating with braces doesn’t have to be boring. Your child can still eat a wide variety of foods, and involving your child in meal planning and getting creative in the kitchen helps them enjoy a diet they love.
Additionally, our team can give you more ideas for a healthy diet that works with braces when your child comes to orthodontic appointments. To schedule an appointment for braces or other orthodontic treatment, contact our team today.