October is Eat Better, Eat Together Month! This month is all about making smart food choices as a family. For people with braces, this means eating healthily and enjoying braces-friendly foods. While braces help patients get their healthiest smiles, there is still work to be done at home!
Making sure that you are cooking, buying, or providing braces-friendly foods is a simple way to ensure a smooth and safe orthodontic treatment. If you have someone in your family who is beginning their braces journey, here are some simple food swaps you can make for their best braces and healthiest smile:
- Swap out candy for other desserts: With Halloween coming up, it’s important to make sure your child isn’t choosing hard, sticky, and chewy candies as a dessert or snack. While candy on occasion is a special treat, only soft candies (like chocolates) are ever braces-friendly. Try desserts such as pudding, soft cookies (avoid ones with crunchy nuts), or chocolate as a sweet braces-friendly indulgence.
- Get rid of chewy and sticky food: Candy isn’t the only sticky or chewy food. Things like dried fruit (raisins or dates) and chewy or hard dinner rolls can easily get stuck in wires and brackets. Instead of dried fruit, choose fresh fruit options. And, rather than cooking up chewy rolls, opt for softer biscuits or breads.
- Find a nut alternative: Many nuts are hard and can cause trouble when eating them—even without braces. That is why most nuts should be approached with caution, as these crunchy foods can easily bend a wire or pop off a bracket. For a protein-packed snack, choose a soft egg instead. And, if you use nuts as a topping for ice cream or baked into a brownie, look into alternatives like chocolate sauce or whipped cream for a braces-friendly finishing touch.
- Soften your veggies: While hard raw veggies, such as carrots are healthy foods, they easily damage braces and wires. Make sure that the veggies you choose are soft—like bell peppers. Or, simply steam your vegetables to make them braces-friendly.
- Stop chewing on ice: Chewing on ice has a lot of potential drawbacks on your teeth and braces. From chipping or fracturing teeth to breaking your orthodontic appliances, ice is better enjoyed in a drink than as a snack! Instead of chewing on ice, enjoy a low-sugar frozen yogurt or the occasional scoop of ice cream to satisfy your mouth with something cool.
- Eliminate tough meats: Big steaks, meat jerky, and other tough meats also pose a threat to braces. Stick to softer meats, like chicken, fish, or ground beef as an alternative source of protein.
- Choose the right pizza crust: Crust can be soft, but it can also be hard and crunchy. Opt for a soft crust or cut off the crust altogether for a braces-friendly pizza.
With a few simple tweaks to your family’s diet, you can set any member of your family up for successful orthodontic treatment! If you have any questions about what is safe to eat with braces, call us at Hutta & Hutta Orthodontics at 614-423-8177.