How to Help Your Child Adjust to Eating with Braces

Is one of your children the first one in the family to get braces? If the answer is "yes", then your child may need help getting used to them, particularly when it comes to eating. Some foods may be difficult to eat immediately following the first appointment or some of the adjustment appointments, and other foods will be off limits for the entirety of the treatment process. Over my years of creating amazing smiles, I’ve compiled a list of tips to help parents help their children while adjusting to life with braces.

Know How to Care for Children’s Braces

Since our children – especially when they are young- know that we have the correct answer to every question they have, understanding the orthodontic process is imperative to help us live up to our children’s expectations of us!

Also, understanding how braces work will help you assist your child proper appliance maintenance.  For the duration of the treatment, the brackets are attached to the teeth through the use of special glue. This glue is strong, to withstand the forces and pressures that are created by foods while eating, but the glue is not “Crazy glue” strong, because when the treatment is finished, the brackets need to removed off the teeth without creating any damage to the teeth. Because of this, soft and regular hardness foods will not dislodge the brackets off the teeth, while hard or very sticky foods need to be avoided while in treatment. This is very important to remember and follow during orthodontic treatment. Once the hard or sticky foods separate the bracket from the tooth, the tooth becomes free to move back to the crooked position it was in at the beginning of the treatment, which increases the time that it takes to finish the treatment.

Start with Soft Foods

Your child’s mouth may be sore a few days after the first appointment, and directly following future check-ups and adjustments. To help your child cope with the temporary pain, offer foods that are soft and easy to consume. Before the appointment, you can stock up on yogurt, applesauce, and plenty of fresh ingredients for cold smoothies. Soup, scrambled eggs, and sweet or regular mashed potatoes are also good ideas. Pasta may be difficult to deal with, but alternatives like quinoa are small enough to consume without much chewing. Plus, quinoa is small enough not to get stuck in the hardware.

Remove the Temptation

Chances are, there will be a few foods from the “no” list that your child will crave while he or she has braces.  The best way to help them is to declare foods like popcorn and sticky candy off limits and keep them out of the house. If your child spends a lot of time with a babysitter or their grandparents, ask them to help by doing the same.

Prepare Lunches the Night Before

When it comes to eating with braces, the great news is that your child does not need to give up eating all their favorite foods. Many of these favorite foods can be consumed if they are broken up into smaller pieces or cooked.  The preparation process may take some extra time, so getting lunches ready the night before could be helpful. For example, fresh carrots are too hard to be eaten with braces. However, cooked carrots, carrot ribbons, and small pieces are less likely to break brackets so they can be part of your child’s lunch. . For at-home snacks, apples are still acceptable if they are sliced thinly. By using your creativity in transforming hard foods into soft foods, very few of your child’s favorite foods will have to be avoided during treatment.

For more information about helping your child adapt to having braces, contact us today at (512) 863-8580 for all your orthodontic needs!