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Braces-B-Q: Conquering the Summer BBQ Without Defeating Your Braces

7/4/18 6:00 AM

Summer is the time when the mercury rises and seemingly every get-together revolves around the BBQ. Memorial Day, July 4, Labor Day...there are plenty of reasons to fire up the grill. And while these outdoor events are always a blast, when you have braces, they can also be a bust. Typical BBQ fare is decidedly difficult on braces: ribs, corn on the cob and that plate of raw veggies can all wreak havoc on your chompers. But before you ditch the 'cue, here are a few tips to help you actually enjoy cookout season (and the food!) while keeping your orthodontic work intact. 

Which Foods Spell Trouble

When navigating the cookout spread, it helps to know which foods have the potential to cause damage to your braces. In general, anything that has a hard or sticky consistency may bend a wire or pull off a bracket and is something you'll want be cautious of. This includes:

  • Ribs, chicken wings, brisket and other stringy or difficult to chew meats
  • Corn on the cob
  • Sticky candies
  • Hard raw fruits and vegetables including carrots, celery and apples
  • Hard snack items including pretzels, corn chips and mixed nuts

But just because you're being careful doesn't mean you have to sit this one out! Many of these foods just require more care or a little extra effort to eat. 

  • Rather than gnawing on a bone, cut meats off the bone and into small pieces. 
  • Using a knife, remove the corn kernels from the cob, opting instead to eat them with a fork.
  • Cut hard fruits and vegetables into smaller pieces and eat them slowly.
  • While they are easy to inhale at warp speed, eat chips, pretzels and nuts one at a time.

Give These Foods the Green Light

We've covered the foods you should avoid or use caution when eating, but what about all those things you can fully enjoy? The good news is, there are many more friendly foods at the cookout than there are potential brace-busters. These include:

  • Soft fruits, including ripe melons
  • Soft meats and cheeses
  • Grilled fish
  • Grilled Vegetables
  • Prepared salads, including pasta salad, bean salad and cole slaw

Other Factors to Consider

Bear in mind that keeping your braces in working order is only half the battle. If you really want to conquer the cookout, you need to be aware of your teeth! Even when choosing friendly foods, braces are an ideal spot for food particles to latch onto and hide around. Over time, these sinister little particles can cause tooth decay. On braces-liberation day you want to marvel at your perfectly straight smile, not make appointments to get multiple cavities filled! The following pointers will help you avoid the tooth decay that may arise as a result of the foods on a BBQ menu.

  • Stick to water for hydration. If you must drink soda, rinse with water immediately after to remove sugar and acidity from your mouth and the surface of your teeth.
  • After eating, find the nearest reflective surface and remove any food debris that has become lodged in your braces. Brisket, pulled pork and other stringy-meats are prime culprits.
  • Pie, ice cream, cupcakes...all delicious BBQ fare! They are also potential sugar-bombs. To prevent that dreaded tooth decay, rinse your mouth and/or brush immediately after eating sugary treats. 
  • Take extra care brushing and flossing your teeth post-BBQ and vigorously rinse your mouth to dislodge any hidden hangers-on.

You're a BBQ Warrior!

A summer cookout doesn't have to be a death sentence for your braces! With a little forethought and a few interventions, almost any BBQ food can be modified to enjoy at your event. And if you are considering braces for yourself or a loved one, rest assured that they will in no way inhibit the fun at your summer celebrations! To learn more about all things braces, please contact us.

 

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