New braces can make your child’s teeth hurt! Wondering what to feed your kid while their mouth is sensitive? Here are healthy meals and snacks for braces.
When my 14 year old got braces, I wasn’t prepared. For the pain, that is.
The poor guy was in so much discomfort that he was up in the middle of the night holding an ice pack to his mouth while we watched Netflix for distraction (it helped!).
I also wish I’d been better prepared with braces-friendly foods.
He’s ravenous these days, and it’s hard enough to keep up with his appetite. Suddenly, so many of his favorite high-cal, filling foods (beef jerky, trail mix, dried fruit, crackers) were out of the question while he was hurting.
In case braces are in your child’s future, know that it’s typical for your child’s mouth to be pretty sensitive in those first few days (and when they’re periodically adjusted too).
To help you, I’ve pulled together a list of foods, including healthy snacks and meal foods, you can have on hand for your child. (Plan a trip to the grocery store before your child’s appointment so you’re not caught off guard like I was!)
Many of these worked well for my son and helped nourish him while he was nursing a sore mouth. Having some of these will be helpful whenever your child gets her braces tightened too.
Get a printable list
Healthy Foods for Kids With Braces
Sources of protein
- Yogurt drinks & kefir
- Cottage cheese
- Veggie burgers and patties (meat can be stringy and chewy, these tend to be soft)
- Smoothies (try my Peanut Butter Breakfast Shake)
- Soup & chili
- Hummus and cooked, mashed beans
- Milk (dairy or non-dairy, flavored and plain)
- Protein shakes
Sources of grains
- Whole grain bread and warm tortillas (you may have to cut off crusts from bread if very chewy)
- Waffles (cut into pieces) and pancakes
Sources of fruits and veggies
- Applesauce (look for unsweetened kinds or make my Slow Cooker Applesauce)
- Fruit cups and canned fruit (look for varieties packed in juice)
- Soft fruits like pears (sliced) and bananas
- Soft cooked vegetables
- Mashed potatoes
Sweet treat options
- Ice cream
- Muffins (try my Peanut Butter Chocolate Oatmeal Cups and Whole Wheat Cinnamon Sugar Muffins)
- Quick breads (try my Fudgy Chocolate Zucchini Bread)
- Soft cookies
Healthy Store Bought Foods For Kids With Braces
Here are some of my son’s personal favorites:
- Perfect Bars (remove from fridge to let them soften, then break into pieces)
- Annie’s Macaroni and Cheese
- Chobani Yogurt Drinks
- Morningstar Farms Chik Patties (vegetarian/vegan)
- Outshine Fruit Bars (cold foods like this are a great way to soothe a sore mouth!)
Healthy Snacks for Kids With Braces
Here are some braces-friendly snacks when you kid has sore teeth:
- Cottage cheese with small pieces of fresh fruit
- Small bowl of oatmeal
- Pudding (here is my recipe for Tofu Pudding)
- Smoothie or yogurt drink
- Fruit cups
- “Nice Cream” (frozen bananas blended in blender or food processor with fresh fruit)
- Slice of quick bread (such as banana bread) spread with thin layer of peanut butter or almond butter
Healthy Meals for Kids With Braces
- Baked potato or mashed potatoes
- Well-cooked pasta or macaroni and cheese
- Pancakes or waffles with maple syrup or yogurt
- Hard-boiled or scrambled eggs
- Soft veggie burgers
- Soft-cooked veggies like cooked carrots
- Fish such as salmon
- Overnight oats
- Meatloaf or beef or turkey burger cut into small pieces
|You might also like: 100 Lunch Box Ideas|
What Foods Are Bad For Braces?
Some hard foods and crunchy foods can break or bend braces. A general rule: Cut these foods into smaller pieces instead of having your child bite right into them:
- Whole fruit like whole apples
- Raw vegetables like whole baby carrots
- Chewy, crusty bread (like baguettes)
- Thick, chewy pizza crusts
- Crunchy treats like potato chips and tortilla chips
Sticky foods can actually pull braces off of teeth or simply stick in crevices, especially in the back teeth. That ups the risk for tooth decay (it’s harder for kids to get their teeth squeaky-clean when they have braces).
- Gummy candy
- Gummy fruit snacks
- Hard candy (if you child tends to chomp them)
- Bubble gum
I’m happy to report that after about 3-4 days, my son’s teeth and mouth felt much better. He still wasn’t up for biting into foods with his front teeth, but he was sleeping just fine and eating (and eating and eating) a lot more foods.
And when he gets periodic adjustments, I simply plan for softer foods that night for dinner, and he usually feels better the next day.
What else can help the pain from braces?
Here are some other items to consider having on hand when your child gets her braces (or has them tightened!):
- Cold packs
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