In moderation, it is perfectly fine to allow treats as part of your children's diet! With good oral hygiene, the occasional treat is not a problem – even for kids with braces!
Children who have braces often feel frustrated about the associated dietary limitations. On top of the problems related sugar consumption that all of us have to watch out for, kids with braces face additional limitations when it comes to treats. The fact is that lots of different types of treats cause damage to braces, and the braces themselves create many more crevices, nooks, and crannies for sugar-eating bacteria to hide in.
None of this means that you must avoid all treats and goodies throughout the whole orthodontic treatment (we're not that cruel!). As with so many other things in life, moderation and common sense are key! And as with so many other things in dental health, oral hygiene is key, too.
Children with braces can safely indulge in the occasional treat as long as they maintain good oral hygiene (brushing and flossing after each meal and snack), and choose treats that will not cause damage to their braces.
The following treats and goodies may not be “recommended” by your dentist as such, but they won’t cause any damage to your child's braces as long as she continues to brush and floss with care.
Chocolate: At room temperature, chocolate is quite soft and shouldn’t cause any problems. Stay away from chocolate with extra gooey or hard fillings (nougat, nuts, dried fruit or caramel, for instance). Try: Kit Kat, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, plain M&Ms, or plain chocolate bars in general.
Hot Dogs or Pizza: For a fun junk food meal, hot dogs and pizza are obvious choices, and it would be pretty impressive if you managed to damage your braces on them!
Ice Cream, Milkshakes or Frozen Yogurt: soft, sweet, creamy and delicious, none of these treats are hard or sticky enough to do braces any harm.
Soft, Freshly-Baked Cookies: Again, just be sure to avoid cookies nuts or gooey fillings.
Soft Pretzels: The pretzel place in the mall food court will likely have lots of pretzel options, both sweet and savoury, as well as dips. Most of these are perfectly safe for your braces.
Treats to avoid:
- Gummy candies
- Sticky, gooey treats like caramel, dried fruit and gum.
Treats and junk food should always be enjoyed in moderation, both for your child's oral health and his overall health, too. As long as they exercise restraint, choose wisely and are careful to brush and floss after indulging, children can enjoy treats while wearing braces without worry!