Summers in California are truly wonderful, with pleasant sunshine, gas grills, and family gatherings. Of course, no one appreciates summer more than the kids who are finally done with school, after working hard to finish up their final exams and big projects!

Unfortunately, as kids get some time away from school and start relaxing, they tend to get a little lax on important habits. One of the big habits they forget is to avoid foods that are bad for braces.

What’s on the Menu?

Barbecues can be great for kids with braces, or they can be a nightmare. Just remember, there are two categories of foods that you should avoid: hard and sticky.

If you’re putting on a family barbecue, for instance, here are some of the classic summer foods that are best for braces:

Grilling some Porterhouse steaks

  • Casseroles
  • Salads
  • Jell-O desserts
  • Chicken
  • Steak
  • Hamburgers
  • Soft fruit

Note that these foods are soft, easy to chew, and unlikely to do any damage to the kids’ braces. Be sure to give the kids heaping helpings of foods like these so they can eat without worrying!

There are also several common barbecue foods that you shouldn’t serve to your braces-wearing boys and girls:

  • Chips
  • Nuts
  • Beef jerky
  • Hard pretzels
  • Rice Krispies treats
  • Hard/sticky candy (i.e., with caramel or nuts)
  • Soda

These foods and beverages are hard, sticky, acidic, or full of sugar. Anything you can do to keep these to a minimum will help!

Conditional Foods

It’s no fun missing out on foods that other people get to eat. Thankfully, your kids can have certain foods if they’re willing to do a little prep work.

Apples are dangerous for your braces if you bite into them directly, but they’re okay if you slice them into wedges.

Corn on the cob is a great barbecue food that is similarly iffy for braces while it’s still on the cob. Once you remove the corn from the cob, however, it’s perfectly fine!

Shop for hulless popcorn. You’ll have a delicious, braces-safe snack for the kids to eat while you all watch a summer movie.

If your kids are careful about the foods they eat, their braces should do their jobs without incident until the orthodontic treatments are over. All that’s left to do is enjoy the summer!

For a beautiful smile!
Drs. Cater and Galante