Get the Green Light When Snacking with Braces: Tips from First Choice Dental

Madison, WI, August 04, 2014 --( For many families, summer schedules provide the time and flexibility to address their children’s orthodontic needs, namely “getting braces.” It’s a busy time of year for dental offices that provide orthodontic care, as many teens and tweens get their braces on before starting middle or high school.

Dr. Sarah Santos, an orthodontist with First Choice Dental says “It’s important to follow your orthodontist’s recommendations when wearing braces or other appliances, especially avoiding certain foods that may damage appliances, brackets, and wires, and will ultimately delay the treatment results.” She recommends using a “red-yellow-green light” approach to remembering what snack foods to avoid, with the key rule being nothing hard or sticky. The following chart makes it easy for parents and kids of all ages to understand the dietary guidelines for braces:

Red Light (Never Eat)

· Nuts
· Popcorn
· Chewing Gum
· Hard Pretzels
· Pizza Crust
· Croutons
· Gummy Bears
· Caramels
· Jelly Beans
· Licorice
· Chocolate Chips
· Ice cubes
· Skittles
· Starburst
· M&Ms
· Tootsie Rolls
· Pens and Pencils

Yellow Light (Use caution, must be cut or broken up and chewed carefully with back teeth)

· Nacho Chips
· Bagels
· Ribs
· Chicken Wings
· Raw Vegetables
· Hard Fruit (i.e. apples)
· Fruit with Pits (i.e. peaches)
· Corn on the Cob
· Crusty Bread
· Granola Bars
· Foods high in sugar (e.g. pop, candy): don't eat often and brush soon after.

Green Light (Go for it)

· Ice Cream (no nuts)
· Potato Chips
· Steamed Vegetables
· Pasta or Potatoes
· French Fries
· Soft Pretzels
· Yogurt
· Pudding
· Jell-O
· Soup
· Sandwiches, Subs
· Cereal in Milk
· Cheese
· Eggs
· Milkshakes
· Peanut Butter Cups

Healthy, Braces-Safe Snack Ideas

Always make sure to chew carefully, take bite-size pieces and brush after you eat.

· Thinly sliced apples, dipped in yogurt dip or creamy chocolate sauce
· Apple slices and peanut butter
· Cheese and crackers
· Cereal mix: Pack for a school-time or on-the-go snack. Mix your favorite low-sugar cereal with Goldfish crackers or Cheez-its and other brace-safe bites like mini marshmallows, raisins or dried cranberries
· “Peanut butter tacos”: Peanut butter & low/no-sugar jelly or honey spread on a soft tortilla shell and rolled up for easy eating on the go
· String cheese
· Hummus & soft pita bread sections, or soft raw veggies, like zucchini or red pepper strips that are easy to bite and chew
· Soft fruit: strawberries, kiwi, bananas, orange or tangerine sections
· Yogurt smoothies
· Pizza wheels: Spread pizza or spaghetti sauce on an English muffin, top with shredded mozzarella cheese and your favorite brace-safe pizza toppings and cook until melted

There’s even a cookbook devoted to brace-friendly recipes, called "The Braces Cookbook" by Pamela Waterman, available on Amazon. It’s a great resource for recipes for snacks, full meals, substitutions, and tips for braces-wearing individuals who want to avoid orthodontic issues.

Santos says, “With a little planning and the willingness to make some adjustments in your diet, it’s easy (and tasty) to eat well while taking good care of your teeth and mouth during your orthodontic experience.”
First Choice dental
Hilary Kleese
(608) 848-5366