When you have a child that uses braces, finding brace-friendly meals and snacks can be challenging. The first few weeks or months can be overwhelming if you don’t know what to feed them or how to cater to their needs. The good news is that when your child gets new braces, the first week of orthodontic therapy is actually the worst for your child’s teeth. Your child’s mouth will have sore teeth, just like yours would after you receive dental work. But it’s just temporary, so here are some suggestions on meals and snacks you can give your child that they can enjoy with their braces on! We are also including some easy school lunch ideas you can try out for your little one.

Dos and Don’ts

Before we dive into the snack and meal ideas, it’s important to go over the basic dos and don’ts of foods for kids with braces. When your toddler or teen wears braces, they can still consume most of their favorite foods. However, their teeth could be a little sensitive after getting their braces put on and during subsequent adjustments. Up until the soreness goes away, it can be good to instruct them to avoid chewing on hard foods and to stick to soft foods, cold foods, and beverages.

It’s actually less about what to eat with braces and more about how to eat with braces when your child is ready to resume their regular diet. Food should be chopped or broken into bite-sized pieces for them to chew using their back teeth. They shouldn’t use their front teeth to tear at or bite into food.

Certain foods should be avoided when wearing braces, especially anything extremely tough, chewy, or sticky. When you have brackets and wires in your mouth, many of these foods are not only difficult to chew, but they can also harm your braces and necessitate a repair appointment.

Sticky foods to avoid when wearing braces:

  • Caramels
  • Starburst
  • Taffy
  • Toffee
  • Tootsie Rolls
  • Gum that contains sugar

Hard foods to avoid when wearing braces:

  • Popcorn (the unpopped kernels can damage braces)
  • Nuts
  • Hard taco shells
  • Pizza crust
  • Hard rolls
  • Hard candy
  • Corn chips
  • Ice

Chewy foods to avoid when wearing braces:

  • Very chewy bagels
  • Beef jerky
  • Licorice

Foods that require biting into:

  • Whole, raw apples and carrots (cut them into small, thin slices)
  • Corn on the cob (take it off the cob)
  • Meat on the bone (take it off the bone)

Healthy Snacks for Kids with Braces

The following is a list of brace-friendly snacks that you can grab from any grocery store at pretty much any time of the year:

  • Dairy products like cottage cheese, string cheese and soft cheese triangles
  • Whole apples (hard fruits and whole fruit should be cut into small pieces)
  • Soft fruits like bananas, watermelon, berries or citrus fruits are great healthy snacks to get vitamin C into your child’s diet
  • Apple sauce
  • Fruit smoothies
  • Avocado slices
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Plain yogurt
  • Soft roast (preferable whole grain)
  • Soft granola bars
  • A sweet treat every now and then like ice cream or soft cookies is ok to satisfy that sweet tooth
  • Crackers or potato chips (cut them into small bite-sized pieces)
  • Jello cups

Easy & Brace-Friendly School Lunch Ideas

Foods high in protein are an excellent way to keep your kid full all day. Excellent choices include:

  • Hard-boiled eggs, thinly sliced cucumber with dressing, and a muffin
  • Tuna
  • Deli meats
  • Egg or chicken salad sandwich on soft sandwich bread and a clementine
  • Peanut butter and jelly sandwich, sliced strawberries and a pudding cup
  • Pita bread with hummus, edamame and diced peaches
  • Turkey and cheese pinwheels (turkey cold cuts and cheese slices on a soft tortilla shell, rolled up and sliced into rounds), cherry tomatoes and veggie crisps
  • Marinated and baked strips of tofu, soft baked potato or wedges, and blueberries
  • Burrito bowl (beans, rice, shredded meat or tofu, salsa and avocado)
  • Pancakes with a nut butter of your choice, fresh berries and some yoghurt
  • Quinoa or couscous mixed with leftover roasted veggies and balsamic dressing, string cheese and a Jello cup
  • Veggie burger on a soft roll with sweet potato fries (or a bag of soft chips)
  • Cheese quesadilla with guacamole and/or salsa, and a banana
  • Whole wheat crackers (like Ritz), cottage cheese, and a fruit cup
  • Oatmeal and cubes of watermelon
  • Pasta salad, grapes, and a soft cookie
  • Pasta with meatballs and some snap peas
  • Greek yogurt, berries, and their favorite cereal
  • Salad made of sliced tomatoes and mozzarella, a soft bun, and applesauce
  • Bean and cheese burrito with some leftover veggies
  • Mashed chickpea salad (mash chickpeas with a fork and mix in some mayo, sliced grapes, and thinly shredded carrots), soft pita slices, and a fruit cup
  • Peanut butter and banana pinwheels (slices of banana and peanut butter on a soft tortilla shell, rolled up and sliced into rounds, steamed peas and carrots, and a yogurt cup

It’s also critical to maintain your child’s oral health, so you’ll want to ensure that any food particles in their teeth are removed after eating. If your child has crunchy snacks, hard candies, etc., they run the risk of breaking their brackets or injuring their braces, so it’s best to avoid these things. Sending your child to school with a toothbrush and toothpaste is a great way for them to keep their braces and mouth clean after lunch or snacks during school hours. Also, having plenty of water by their side is a great way to make sure they are staying hydrated (drinking water also rinses their mouths of food particles after they eat, so this is important). Steer clear of drinks that are high in sugar, like sports drinks, soda, and many fruit juices. You can add a few drops of lemon juice to their water bottle to keep them feeling hydrated and refreshed throughout the day.

We are here to take care of your child’s every dental need, so please call us at 801-948-8880 to book a consultation for your child today!