Summer break means warm weather, vacations, and your favorite summer sweets! However, if this is your child’s first summer with braces, you may be in search of braces-friendly alternatives to many favorite summer foods.
Foods to Avoid and Great Alternatives.
These healthier substitutes will keep everyone in your family smiling while avoiding an orthodontic emergency.
Corn on the Cob
Kernels from corn on the cob (and popcorn) can get stuck between teeth even without braces. While wearing braces, it is even more difficult to clean hard-to-reach places. A lodged kernel of corn can cause swelling, discomfort, and even infection. Worse, biting into an ear of corn can cause brackets to pop off or wires to bend, which will mean an emergency orthodontic appointment.
Love corn on the cob? You can still eat it as much as you like! Just remove the corn from the cob. Here’s a hack: hold the corn vertically in a bowl and run a butter knife along the side from top to bottom to slice the corn off the cob and right into your bowl!
Meat on the Bone
Chicken wings, drumsticks, and ribs are all BBQ staples. But like corn on the cob, biting meat off of a bone is hard on braces. You can still enjoy these meats; simply cut the meat off the bone after cooking.
Snacking on raw vegetables is super healthy but can also damage your braces if you bite directly into them. Luckily, you can cut them into smaller, bite-size pieces and focus on using your back molars when chewing. Otherwise, eat cooked veggies because they become soft and are less likely to cause damage.
During the summer, it seems as if boxes of store-bought popsicles are everywhere you go. Sure, they are a cheap way to keep your kids cool when the weather is hot, but popsicles are loaded with sugar that clings to teeth and attracts bacteria that erodes tooth enamel.
Significantly decrease the sugar content by making your own DIY fruit pops. Bonus: making homemade fruit popsicles is a fun activity to do with your kids. Just make sure to suck on the pops instead of biting directly into them.
You may initially think that ice is the perfect summer solution for keeping cool while enjoying a sugar-free snack but think again. Chewing on ice cubes can cause gum injuries, damaged enamel, bent wires, broken brackets, and even broken teeth.
Conversely, watermelon is the ideal refreshing snack. Composed of 92% water, this sweet treat is also high in vitamin C. Watermelon will also help to keep you hydrated while stimulating your salivary flow, neutralizing harmful acids in your mouth, and helping to wash away food bacteria. These benefits prevent tooth decay and other oral health issues.
Hard Candy or Taffy
Candy can be either hard and crunchy or sticky and chewy, all of which are bad for braces and teeth. Candy is also loaded with sugar, which fuels the bacteria on your teeth and contributes to tooth decay. It’s best to avoid all candy, but you should never bite and chew on hard candies.
If you are going to indulge, choose chocolate instead. While it still contains sugar, which isn’t great, chocolate melts quickly, is less likely to cause damage, and won’t stick to your teeth. Dark chocolate is an even better choice as it contains healthy antioxidants and may have other health benefits.
Cake, ice cream, popsicles, ice cream bars, cookies, and candy are all summertime staples but contain lots of sugar. These sweets can contribute to increased plaque, tartar, and cavities.
Instead, choose soft fruits like berries. Blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries are all in season during the summer months and are sweet and satisfying. Containing cancer-fighting antioxidants and vitamin C, berries are beneficial treats that promote healing. Berries can help to decrease gum inflammation and can even help to keep you hydrated.
Enjoy Your Summer!
If you are unsure, ask us about our favorite braces-friendly summer snacks. Have you discovered a new summer sweet alternative? Let Thomas Orthodontics know at your next checkup so we can add it to our list!