Halloween is coming up next month, which can be a challenging time for kids with braces – especially when children trick or treat for candy on Oct. 31.
We will talk more about Halloween in the coming weeks, but the day raises some good questions about good snack options for children with braces.
At M. Scott Runnels Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics in Destin and Panama City Beach, we will work with you and your child to fit them with the best braces and teach them the best ways to care for their braces. Contact Runnels Orthodontics today to learn more or to make an appointment.
Modern Mom recently wrote about the challenges of finding healthy and safe snacks for children with braces.
Most children, before braces, are used to tearing into their favorite crunchy snacks and going for chewy candy without a second thought. But once children have braces, they and their parents need to re-examine what snacks and treats are best – snacks that won’t be painful or damage new orthodontic devices.
The first change is often learning how to eat without pain, at least immediately after children get braces or have them tightened. One change that works is cutting up food into smaller pieces so children use rear molars as much as possible. Changing the types of meat kids eat is also a good idea. Look to avoid thick and chewy meats such as ham or steak.
Getting braces also means children should reduce the amount of sugary snacks they eat. These can lead to excessive plaque around brackets. Switching to softer foods is another good option.
Some snacks are better for those with braces than other snacks. Some foods to avoid are raw vegetables – think carrots or cauliflower. Also, apples or pears and other fruits can be difficult to eat.
Chewy candy including taffy, gum and caramels are best to avoid. Peanut brittle and hard candy should no longer be on the menu.
Difficult-to-tear snacks including beef jerky, bagels or dinner rolls and crispy snacks such as corn chips and pretzels are also likely to be off limits for those with braces.
But there are tasty and healthy snacks for children with braces.
Citrus fruits are easy to chew and provide vitamin C and calcium. Assortments of greens and lightly cooked vegetables in salads are equally nutritious. Some other soft fruits that won’t damage braces and taste great include bananas, grapes, raspberries and blueberries.
Several snacks that most kids love also are suitable for children with braces. Potato chips, cheese puffs, sliced and thin cold cuts, even jelly on toast — all these won’t damage braces or be painful to eat.
Cottage cheese, string cheese and yogurt are great between-meal snacks. The ever-popular peanut butter and jelly sandwich is also a good option, but go light on the peanut butter, which can get stuck in some braces.
For meals, rice, cooked vegetables and proteins can all offer an enjoyable diet while braces work to give children a straighter and more attractive smile.
Kids can be picky eaters. But give these snack ideas a try!