Navigating your summer BBQ


With summer in full swing, it can only mean one thing—BBQs! While summer gatherings can be a point of stress or anxiety for those with braces, they don’t have to be. There are some BBQ favorites you should avoid if you’re going through orthodontic treatment, but there are still plenty of great options you can enjoy.

We’ve put together some tips and tricks for enjoying this classic summer tradition while minimizing the risk of damaging and irritating your orthodontic health. For personalized advice visit your trained orthodontic specialist for the proper guidance you need when it comes to eating or drinking with braces.

Tip #1: Stay away from hard, sticky, chewy, and tough foods

Biting into hard, tough, or sticky foods can cause wires or brackets to break, which can cause pain and prolong your orthodontic treatment. Seek out foods at BBQs that will be easier on your orthodontic appliance. For example, try replacing tough meat such as steak or brisket with a soft pulled pork sandwich at your next BBQ. You can find a yummy recipe for pulled pork here.

Tip #2: Try to pick a variety of soft foods

While you might have to avoid some foods at BBQs this summer, you don’t have to skip them all. BBQ favorites like pasta salad, macaroni and cheese, chili, and ice cream are all soft foods that make great options for braces.

Tip #3: Cut your food into smaller bites

There are some BBQ classics you might not be willing to give up, and that’s alright! Corn on the cob, apples, carrots and ribs can still be enjoyed if properly prepared. These items can be harmful if bitten into directly, but are harmless when cut into smaller pieces, or shaved off the core or bone.

Tip #4: Drink lots of water

Although sodas might seem tempting, the sugar and acid within can cause decalcification, tooth softening, cavities, staining, and loss of enamel, which can cause sensitivity along with other dental and orthodontic problems. Water provides refreshment and helps to wash away any food that gets stuck in between your wires and brackets, without the long-lasting damage that comes from sugary and carbonated drinks.

Tip #5: Always keep your toothbrush and floss handy

Brushing and flossing right after eating is crucial. Food often becomes trapped in and around your braces, encouraging the buildup of plaque. This leads to cavities and can permanently stain your teeth once your braces are removed. When you brush and floss regularly, you’ll help your teeth and gums to be in the best possible condition and ensure your orthodontic treatment will deliver the healthiest smile possible.

Don’t let BBQ season be stressful. If you have questions about what to pick at your summer BBQs, or if something does happen to your orthodontic appliance while eating, consult your TAO orthodontic specialist.