Some barbecue favorites can make it difficult to clean your teeth and braces at best, and at worst can cause damage that will potentially add extra time and expense to your orthodontic treatment.
Today we’re sharing some tips (as well as a braces friendly recipe) to help minimize your risks and keep the focus on the fun during your family cookouts this summer.
Tip #1: Avoid hard, tough, sticky and chewy foods
While we’ve offered this advice before, it’s so important that it’s worth repeating. Foods you might see at a barbecue that you’ll want to avoid include kettle cooked and corn chips, jerky and meat on the bone. Other foods that would normally be no-nos may be eaten by braces wearers with modification (see tip #3).
Tip #2: Stick to Soft Foods
Even if you have to skip certain foods at your cookouts this summer, you certainly don’t have to go hungry. As far as meat goes, you can indulge in boneless chicken and seafood, sushi and deli meats freely. Hamburgers and pulled beef, chicken or pork are also usually safe bets, although with the latter you may need to spend some extra time cleaning your braces after eating.
Other choices that will have minimal impact on your braces include soft-cooked beans and chili, macaroni and cheese and other casseroles, pasta salads, soft breads and cheeses and soft fruits like grapes, bananas and melon. Ice cream and gelatin-based desserts are acceptable, just be sure to clean your teeth promptly to prevent any harm caused by the sugar.
Tip #3:Cut Food Into Smaller Bites
Certain foods that would otherwise be risky for braces wearers may be eaten if first cut into smaller pieces. Some examples include carrot sticks, apples, steak and perhaps even rib meat removed from the bone. Corn on the cob is another cookout classic that should never be bitten into directly but is harmless if you cut the corn off of the cob before eating.
By all means use your best judgment and when in doubt, err on the side of caution (stick with softer foods).
Tip #4: Be Cautious to Avoid Staining
Tomato sauce and barbecue sauce can be staining, so those wearing clear or tooth-colored braces should consume these sparingly, or at least clean your teeth immediately to avoid discoloration.
We hope you find these tips helpful and that you will keep them in mind during your family barbecues this summer. And if you want to start off grilling season with something new (and braces friendly), check out the marinated shrimp recipe below.
Braces Friendly Recipe: Marinated Grilled Shrimp
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup tomato sauce
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 pounds fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
1.In a large bowl, stir together the garlic, olive oil, tomato sauce, and red wine vinegar. Season with basil, salt, and cayenne pepper. Add shrimp to the bowl, and stir until evenly coated. Cover, and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour, stirring once or twice.
2. Preheat grill for medium heat. Thread shrimp onto skewers, piercing once near the tail and once near the head. Discard marinade.
3. Lightly oil grill grate. Cook shrimp on preheated grill for 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until opaque.
+ Some reviewers substituted ketchup or hot chili sauce (for spicier shrimp) for the tomato sauce.
+ Be sure to use fresh basil if possible as you’ll lose some of the flavor with the dried herb.
+ Aluminum foil can be used to seal in moisture and make cleanup easier.