Traditional metal braces use small brackets that are affixed to teeth to hold thin wires in place. These wires are minutely adjusted over time to gently guide teeth into the proper placement and alignment within the mouth. Although braces don’t hurt, in the first couple days after getting braces, your child may feel a slight discomfort as their teeth and mouth begin adjusting to their new braces.
When your child has braces, it is important for them to brush their teeth four (4) to five (5) times a day. This means brushing after every meal if possible, to prevent food from getting stuck.
What they eat and do not eat will directly affect the condition of their teeth during orthodontic treatment. Here are some tips on what kinds of foods they should avoid and how to carefully enjoy some of their favorites.
At times, it is difficult to break and chew certain foods. Eating hard foods can be harmful during orthodontic treatment because they can bend or break wires and even displace brackets. Your child should avoid them entirely after they have had their wires changed, since teeth are the most tender at this stage.
Tips for eating hard foods:
- Fruits are an essential part of a balanced diet. If your child wants to eat apples, pears and
- peaches, make sure they do not directly bite into them. Instead, cut them into small
- pieces before consuming.
- If they enjoy eating almonds, cashews or peanuts, consider grinding them and adding it
- to cereals and yogurt.
- While eating chicken wings or ribs, remove the bones before consuming. This
- prevents them from accidentally chewing on a bone and dislocating a bracket.
- While eating corn, remove the kernels from the cob to help prevent damage to braces.
- Avoid chewing on ice. Your child can suck on ice cubes but never bite them.
Sticky and Sweet Foods
Sticky foods can get stuck to teeth and braces and can even result in the braces getting pulled off. Sweet, sugary foods are high in sugar and their consumption can lead to tooth decay.
Tips for eating sticky and sweet foods:
- If your child enjoys eating candy, instruct them to suck on it instead of chewing. Be sure they rinse their mouth with water to avoid sugar buildup on your teeth.
- Avoid chewing on gum. Gum can stick to braces and may be difficult to clean. It can also loosen the wires and brackets.