With the 4th of July coming up, many of us will have a long weekend of celebration with sunshine, fireworks and barbecues! The nice, hot weather promises lots of picnics and BBQs all summer long, but eating at these events can be tricky for anyone wearing braces. Some BBQ food staples can potentially damage braces, while other foods can make cleaning your braces quite difficult. It’s important for those with braces to keep in mind the foods that are OK to eat and the foods you should avoid (or eat with care) when going to a BBQ.

Many common BBQ foods are on the “avoid/use caution” list:

  • Corn chips and pretzels – if you must have some chips, choose only non-corn chips and eat them very slowly, one at a time!
  • Corn on the cob – if you can’t resist this BBQ favorite, cut the kernels off the cob first.
  • Tough-to-chew meats – stick to soft-cooked meats (removed from the bone), and eat carefully. It’s also best to avoid stringy meats, but you can eat it if you really want to – just be prepared to go the extra mile to clean your braces!
  • Raw veggies – if you’re having a major carrot craving, cut them into very small pieces and be sure to chew with your back teeth, not your front.

The most important thing to remember is to avoid foods that are hard, chewy, crunchy, sticky or gooey. Also, if you eat any sweets or sugary beverages, be sure to clean your teeth right away since braces make your teeth more susceptible to decay.

But with all of these Do’s and Don’ts, it doesn’t mean you’ll have to starve! Some great foods that anyone with braces can enjoy at BBQs include: soft meats and cheeses, soft fruits (like melon and grapes), seafood (without bones), light crackers and cookies, noodle dishes, soft-cooked beans, chili and soft breads. And everyone’s favorite hot-weather treat – ice cream (just be sure to clean your teeth right after).

You don’t have to let your braces stop you from enjoying all the BBQs you go to this summer. Just keep these tips in mind and enjoy!

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