In addition to the great weather and school being out, one of the top ways that people celebrate summer is with a picnic or barbecue. The traditional foods like hamburgers, hot dogs, and corn on the cob are mouth-watering, but some of them might not be braces-friendly. These tips from our Speaks Orthodontics team will help you and your kids choose safe and tasty foods for your backyard parties, birthday parties, BBQs, and more.

Main Dishes

Hamburgers and hot dogs are a-okay for braces. If kids have a hard time opening their mouths because of bands on the braces, they could eat the burger or hot dog without a bun. Bratwurst is also okay, but you might want to slice it to make it easier for kids to bite. Grilled chicken or steak may be family favorites, but take extra care with these foods. Cut them into tiny cubes and avoid charred pieces.


Summertime side dishes are often filled with color and flavor. Some safe options include cubes of watermelon, diced strawberries, and fruit salad. Mashed potatoes, potato salad, and coleslaw with shredded veggies are also okay. Side dishes to avoid with braces include hard raw vegetables like carrots and potatoes. Try avoiding tortilla chips and anything with nuts!


Summer is often hot, and active kids get thirsty. Bottled water is the best choice for kids with braces. Avoid giving kids drinks with ice cubes as these can potentially pop a bracket off. Ice cubes can even chip a tooth, making them unsafe for anyone to bite on. Skip the carbonated drinks and sugary juices. If kids want a flavored drink, try a sugar-free powdered mix or iced tea.


Whether your child has one sweet tooth or a whole mouthful, it might be hard to keep him or her away from the treats table at a summer party. Sweets should be reserved for a special occasion and enjoyed in moderation, especially for kids with braces. Avoid sticky candies like caramels and roasted marshmallows. Candies with nuts should also be avoided. Skip the hard candies and gum. Some sweets that are safe include soft sugar cookies, brownies without nuts, angel food cake, and gelatin.