Parenting Project: Eating with braces - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Parenting Project: Eating with braces

VERONA (WKOW) -- Most kids don't want to get braces and usually want them off as soon as possible. So what do parents buy at the grocery store to make sure their children don't have to have them on longer than usual?

Orthodontists say what your child eats can really affect his or her braces and teeth. Dr. Sarah Santos-Rangsuebsin with First Choice Dental says when they eat the wrong foods, the brackets can come off the tooth and the wire might bend. That can make teeth crooked; the exact thing you're trying to prevent. "If they have a lot of emergency work done, typically it means prolonged treatment."

So if you think 2 years is long enough for braces, here are the foods people with braces should avoid: nuts, popcorn, gum, hard pretzels, pizza crust, croutons, gummy bears, caramels, jelly beans, licorice, chocolate chips, ice cubes, candy like Skittles, Starburst, M&Ms, and Tootsie Rolls. If you're not sure whether the food is on the so-called "Red Light" list, Dr. Santos-Rangsuebsin says, "A general rule is anything hard or sticky should be avoided."

Here are some foods that are in the Yellow Light category, so you can eat them but need to use caution: nacho chips, bagels, ribs, chicken wings, raw vegetables, hard fruit like apples, fruit with pits like peaches, corn on the cob, crusty bread, granola bars, and foods high in sugar. "Sugar and soda can cause tooth decay if you don't brush your teeth right away," says Dr. Santos-Rangsuebsin.

Green Light foods include ice cream (no nuts), potato chips, steamed vegetables, pasta, potatoes, french fries, soft pretzels, yogurt, pudding, Jell-O, soup, sandwiches and subs, cereal with milk, cheese, eggs, milkshakes, and peanut butter cups.

Head to this website and click on "Growing Smiles" for a more complete list of orthodontic dietary guidelines.

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