So, Sprog the Younger now has dental braces

and most of her diet will have to change – she’s been rather a fan of all those chewy foods that are now totally contraindicated.

What have other parents of the be-braced found is good? She can’t live just on spaghetti and breakfast drinks.

Categories: Miscellaneous


12 replies

  1. I’m an in-betweenie, long since de-braced but not yet raising an em-braced. However, I don’t recall diet being such a problem, unless Minties and toffees made up a really startling proportion of hers. Once the ulcers settled down, which admittedly is a rough period and I don’t remember much of anything helping, I think I was back onto red meat and suchlike. I see from a quick search that most orthodontist websites are a bit tougher than I remember; for me it was mostly steering clear of Minties and unpopped popcorn!

  2. I think the braces may be a wee bit more delicate these days? This is sold as a feature rather than a bug – perhaps they think everyone needs to lose weight anyway?
    It’s probably more to do with just getting used to them. Thank goodness they’re only on the top as yet.

  3. Can you give us some idea of the now-forbidden chewy foods that she was fond of? It might help in thinking up some alternatives that will satisfy those same taste buds (although, there’s nothing to be done if it’s the texture that she liked).

  4. In the Stay Away From category, she’s mourning pizza crust and corn chips.
    The Avoid Sticky Foods group isn’t a big problem – she’s not big on sticky sweets.
    Normal sweet stuff is in the Brush/Rinse immediate category – she’ll get used to that, I’m thinking that she thinks she can’t eat them at all.
    Eat With Care is carrots, apples, hard breads, the rest of pizza, meats, crackers and biscuits, peanut butter – all her favourites. But she can still eat them, as long as she cuts them up fine and nibbles rather than takes big bites.
    Thanks, you made me go and look it all up in the info folder, and it’s not as bad as she’s been panicking about.

  5. I’m only recently de-braced, and I suspect that ‘pizza crusts’ depends on the pizza (i.e., hard-baked might be problematical, but only the really hard bit), and the corn chips are actually probably okay-ish. That is, I was told not to eat anything too hard or crunchy, but I could tell where the line was, coz my teeth started feeling like they were being mildly twisted by the wires. Same for the ‘eat with care’ category. The point is more to be a bit more cautious about just chomping down willy-nilly, but it’s not actually a hardship. Pizza, IME, was not a problem at all. Apples, carrots, hard breads and crackers and biscuits were a bit hard to eat without chopping them up first, but that’s because the brace bit, which is affixed to the tooth, means that when you try to sink your teeth down into something, you can only get so far before you just have to tear, if that makes sense, because there’s no more smooth tooth surface. And peanut buter is just hard to brush away.
    Reading back over that, I have to say that having braces made me waaayyy more aware of the mechanics of eating than I ever was before!

  6. i’m not a parent myself, but things that i used to eat at school when i had my braces (we had the really strict list of what-not-to-eat, too; i think it just varies between orthodontists):
    *thinly sliced apple (i became the envy of all my schoolfriends and recess; they thought it was great!)
    *noodles with well-cooked peas and carrot
    a lot of things were a problem for a day or two after i had my braces tightened (roughly each month) but were fine the rest of the time.

  7. I just recently got my braces off after three years, and I’m 33. 🙂 I don’t think braces are more delicate these days; if anything, they’re actually stronger as we have better adhesives. Soups and soft breads are good when you’ve just gotten them on or had them adjusted. After that, pretty much anything goes, just don’t eat large chunks of very chewy meat or hard vegetables and fruit, just cut them up.
    I don’t see why there’s a ban on pizza crust and corn chips. I ate pizza crusts with no problem, just take smaller bites, and the same with corn chips. I learned to chew carefully and avoid jamming large unchewed chunks of food down on the braces. One trick is to take a swig of water or whatever you’re drinking with the food, it softens it. I even ate chewy lollies, just really carefully, sucking not chewing, and I even crunched the odd hard lolly like barley sugar with no tragic results. I only ever had two brackets fall off in the whole three years. As you get used to the braces you get to know what kind of food makes them ouchy, and you get bolder and eat pretty much normally; I was over cutting things up into tiny pieces by about three months in. I think some orthodontists are overly careful, especially with younger people; mine was happy as long as I kept reasonably good dental hygiene.
    Oral B SuperFloss (has poky ends) and those interdental brushes are your new best friend for getting all the crap out from between and under them. I personally found electric toothbrushes irritating, though some love them.
    I also found I was drinking a lot more water with meals as I hated having any food stuck in them at all, so I was always swishing water.
    Further anecdote: My brother played grade rugby while he had braces on. He got smacked in the mouth quite hard in a tackle, and the braces actually saved his teeth from being knocked out as they distributed the force around the whole jaw. The inside of his lips was all cut up, sure, but that’s less troublesome to fix than a mouth of broken teeth. So contact sports aren’t as dangerous for braces as one might think. 🙂

  8. I feel your pain, Tigtog, I’m supporting a Kept Orthodontist over in the eastern suburbs. Husband is fine with it, look how they are with child support payments but a DUDE, totally OK.
    Harpraxis, I’m ecstatic to hear that about the contact sport thing (Taekwondo sparring in son’s case.)

    • Things have improved – she spent today doing extracurricular stuff at school and managed to nibble some pizza happily. She is vastly relieved.

  9. tigtog: I don’t know if it’s what she was doing, but I remember myself and my sister both doing having some mourning and anguish over the simple fact of the braces. They’re uncomfortable, unappealing and we were both in them for 2 years, which is very hard to visualise as a teen. I don’t recall now, but I wouldn’t be surprised if rules and restrictions also fed into my main reaction to the damned things themselves.

  10. Mary, you’re probably a younger demographic than me, but I think braces have lost a bit of their dork factor. The kids seem to enjoy getting a new colour on them every time they go to have them tightened. IN MY DAY (waves walking stick) we didn’t have coloured braces, just steel like Jaws in James Bond movies.
    Tigtog, one idea I came up with is to give paracetamol just *before* the tightening appt, to ride over the temporary discomfort (the ensuing tightenings are nothing like the original installation, BTW.) So the paracetamol kicks in as soon as the kid’s out of the chair.
    Unfortunately I have nothing for the weeping at the cash desk while undergoing the monthly $ extraction. Gin, perhaps. If you can still afford it that is.

  11. Helen: I’m 28. I had braces from age 13 to 15, I think. I was missing my adult lateral incisors (this is surprisingly common, I think I was told about 1 or 2% of the population) and had been walking around for two years with seven-year-old style gaps in my teeth where the milk incisors had been pulled out.
    It wasn’t precisely the dork factor that made me so upset about them, that was just icing on the cake. Certainly in the mid-1990s it wasn’t something that attracted teasing from peers (nor did glasses if I recall correctly), which was good, but it also wasn’t something any of us would have chosen over not having them. I was upset largely due to the pain and the prospect of renewed pain every time they were tightened. (In actual fact the tightening was far less painful than the initial adjustment, but I don’t think I’d been adequately warned about the level of initial pain at all. I am not sure if it was worse than usual for me, with the braces being designed to drag all my upper teeth one full tooth position inwards to fill the gaps.)

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