Can You Eat Apples With Braces?There are at least a dozen different types of apples, including Macintosh, Granny Smith, Crispin, Spartan, and Northern Spy, to name just a few. Whether you like apple tart and crunchy or sweet and slightly fleshy, no doubt there is an apple on the market to suit your taste.Apples are an enormously healthy and economical snack, a popular staple in lunch boxes for kids heading to school. They retain their freshness for long periods, as long as they’re kept in a somewhat cool environment. Yes indeed, there are good reasons for the sterling nutritional reputation apples enjoy – they are low in calories, chock full of vitamins and fibre, and they don’t put an undue strain on your weekly grocery budget.But many people wonder whether it’s safe to eat apples when wearing braces. After all, orthodontics is a big investment, and the last thing parents and kids want is for any type of snack – healthy or not – to damage braces or the teeth underneath them being corrected. The average cost of braces varies widely, but research shows that prices begin at approximately $3,000 in North America, and move steadily higher to $10,000, depending on where you live. That’s quite a lot of money! Naturally, then, parents (who are often the ones paying the orthodontist) want braces maintained well. And anyone wearing them wants them off as soon as possible, so taking care of them is a priority. That care includes paying close attention to the foods eaten by the person wearing the braces, even something as delicious and nutritious as an apple. In this article, we look at whether experts think apples should be eaten by those wearing braces. We also look at how they recommend wearers eat apples – no big bites into the crisp, freshly washed skin, please!
Biting Is Different Than Chewing
When we think of eating apples, we often imagine taking a big, deep bite into the crisp skin and enjoying the moist and tangy taste of the apple’s flesh. But just like people who wear dentures, those who wear braces have to be careful which foods they bite into firmly, because doing so can damage the material braces are made of. (That material is usually metal, such as stainless steel or titanium. They might also be made of plastic – a popular choice with adults – which makes braces less obvious when you smile).Specialists impart two important messages when counselling a patient who’s just had new braces put on: how to care for them, and what foods they can safely consume. There is a big difference between chewing food and biting into it, obviously. And because fresh apples are hard, it requires a lot of pressure to bite into one. Dental experts suggest something as hard as an apple puts about 70 pounds of pressure on your front teeth. Imagine what such a hard food can do to a row of new braces, even though they’re made of a sturdy metal like stainless steel.
Does This Mean No Apples For Now?
Even though you (or your teen) have to be careful about biting into food, that doesn’t mean apples are off the daily menu. You can still serve an apple as a healthy snack if someone in the family wears braces; you simply have to reconsider how you serve it. After all, if you have a teen who loves fresh fruit, including apples, the last thing you want to do is discourage them from consuming it, right? And since they could be wearing braces for up to three years – every patient is different – fruit of any kind, but apples, in particular, should not be excluded from their diet.
How To Serve Apples If Your Teen Has Braces
To avoid the issue of biting into an apple, take the time to wash it and slice it before you serve it. If you’re packing lunch for your teenager’s school day, simply put the slices into a small plastic bag or Tupperware container before sending them off. Although apple slices may turn a little brown if exposed to air for too long, the few hours they’re in the classroom before the lunch bell rings shouldn’t cause this. To avoid the risk, simply brush the slices with a little fresh lemon juice diluted with water.
Do Apples Cause Pain To Someone Wearing Braces?
When braces are put on, initially you (or your child) feels some discomfort. After all, this is a significant change that’s occurring in the mouth, not just having the “hardware” put on but the many months of corrective procedure that ensues afterwards. It takes time for your teeth to be fixed, but that’s the job of braces. The discomfort is rewarded by beautiful, straight teeth. The pain is usually fairly mild, and your orthodontist can recommend over-the-counter medications that help alleviate it.Sometimes, however, hard foods like apples cause a little additional discomfort, even when you slice them beforehand and serve them that way. This is particularly true when someone has just had their braces adjusted and tightened. When that happens, offer softer foods for a few days. They’ll start eating apples and other hard foods when the pain in their mouth has subsided. But if someone’s mouth is truly uncomfortable yet they miss apples, switch to apple sauce for a week or two – a similar great taste without the crunch.
Other Hard Foods Can Cause Discomfort
It isn’t just apples, of course, that can be difficult for those wearing braces to consume. There are other fruits and vegetables that may cause problems, including carrots, celery, radishes and other fruits that you normally bite into. Even something a little softer than an apple, like a plum, may be too fleshy for someone wearing braces to enjoy. The key to solving this is finding an alternative way of serving fruit – chopped up into a fruit salad, for example – and dishing it out that way for however long the braces are on.The orthodontist will give you (or your teen) a list of foods they can enjoy while wearing braces, and also information on the foods best avoided for the time being, or served in an alternative manner. If you have any concerns or doubts, always contact this specialist and voice those concerns ahead of serving something.
Caring For Braces: The Dos & Don’ts
Dentists and orthodontists recommend that those people wearing braces brush even more than the recommended number of times each day (three times) and floss daily, too. It can be a challenge to convince teens to adhere to this care regimen, but reminding them that the better they treat their braces, the sooner they will come off goes a long way towards getting them on board. No one wants to wear braces for any longer than necessary. Although they aren’t the source of embarrassment they once were for kids, most young people just want to fit in with their peers, and getting their braces off helps them do that. For adults, braces are a different story. To some, they are a symbol of a healthy lifestyle and a dedication to being in the best shape they can be. Investing in braces as an adult demonstrates a concern with one’s appearance and oral health.
Early Signs Your Child May Need Braces
Although we often think of teens as the most common wearers of braces, in fact, parents can find out much earlier whether their child may be a candidate for this corrective measure. According to the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO), there are several early warning signs that braces may be a necessary measure for your child’s future.
1- They Lose Their Baby Teeth Early or Late
This can create problems when permanent teeth grow in to replace them. Naturally, every child loses these first teeth at a unique pace, but if you have any concerns, make an appointment with an orthodontist who specializes in children. If there is an issue, it will be evident by the age of seven.
2- Problems Chewing or Jaw Noises
If you notice either of these issues, you should set up that appointment. An expert in child orthodontics will do a full assessment of your child’s oral health. Braces may be necessary, but a specialist can tell you the best age to have the procedure done, and what to do to preserve your little one’s dental health in the meantime.
Part of a person’s “dental destiny,” so to speak, is determined by genetics. But brushing regularly and teaching your child how to floss as soon as they’re able to, goes a long way toward ensuring your child has a healthy, cavity-free mouth growing up. Set a good example by having regular checkups and paying close attention to your dental hygiene between visits to the dentist. And whatever you do, don’t let nervousness show when you take your child for a checkup. Remember: children model their parents’ behaviour, so if you’re anxious, they will be, too. Even the most conscientious dental habits don’t guarantee your child won’t one-day need braces. If you can handle the financial commitment braces incur, it’s worth it! Many dental practices offer payment plans when you’re having a procedure like braces, so be sure to ask your orthodontist about this if you have budgetary concerns. Straight, white teeth are a big asset, and setting funds aside for this procedure is an investment in your child or teen’s future. Doing so ensures that, one day, when they’re off at college or working their first, big job, they can literally take a bite out of a crisp, shiny apple, as well as an enthusiastic bite out of the many challenges and joys of life.