Many tweens and teens are prescribed braces to help align fully erupted adult teeth. Braces are made up of metal, usually stainless steel, and contain bands, brackets and wires. When your child eats, food can get stuck in the braces. Brushing immediately will release most foods, but some foods may actually damage the braces and cause tooth decay. It is easier to choose foods to eat by simply avoiding the foods that are harmful to the braces. Your child should continue avoiding these foods throughout the duration that the braces remain in the mouth.
Toss out any sticky foods, as these can cause parts of the braces, such as the wires, to come loose. Sticky foods include chewing gum, fruit snacks, fruit leathers, caramels, certain fruit bars, toffees and muesli.
Avoid hard foods that could crack or break the braces. Hard foods include ice cubes or ice chips, nuts, hard candies, popcorn, mints, lollipops, burned toast and hard cookies.
Remove foods that are hard to chew from the diet. These may also loosen the bands on braces or even damage the braces themselves. Common foods that are hard to chew include apples, bagels, cereals that have not been softened by milk, raw carrots, pretzels and licorice.
Use acid and sugary food items sparingly. Always brush teeth immediately after consuming these items. Examples of acid and sugary foods include soda, tomato sauce, sugary juice drinks, citrus fruits, vinaigrette dressings and pickles.
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Children with braces should also avoid chewing on pencils or fingernails.
Seek treatment from your child's orthodontist immediately if a wire or bracket ever comes loose.