The holiday season may be your favorite time of year, but going into the holidays for the first time with braces can cause a lot of concern. Don’t worry, we are here to guide you through some of the pitfalls that you can come across so that you can enjoy your friends, family, and favorite holiday traditions.
Your Holiday Food Guide
In the first part of our two-part series on surviving the holidays with braces, we are focusing on food. No matter which holidays you celebrate, one of the best parts of the season is getting together with those we love to indulge in delicious meals and treats.
Unfortunately, you are going to want to avoid certain foods with braces. The last thing you want to do during the holiday season is to damage your braces and need an emergency orthodontic visit. But holiday meals are all about abundance, so there should still be plenty of options for you to enjoy.
Foods That Can Damage Braces
First of all, it is important to remember why you should avoid certain foods. Each of the following types of food can cause damage to either your teeth or your braces. Your braces are pretty tough, but the wires and brackets are not indestructible. Certain foods can bend or break them, causing problems you don’t want to have to deal with during the holidays.
- Sticky foods: These can pull on braces and cause damage. Avoid sticky and chewy treats like caramel, toffee, fudge, and pecan pie.
- Hard foods: Hard foods and candies also bend and break your braces when you bite them. Avoid hard candies and cookies, peanut brittle, and candy canes. Even healthy treats like raw veggies and dip can damage braces if you bite directly into them. Popcorn, nuts, crusty breads, and pretzels can also damage braces or get stuck between the wires.
- Meat on the Bone: Biting into meat on the bone can be damaging as well. You may accidentally bite the hard bone, damaging your braces, or the pulling motion can bend your wires.
Avoid Excess Sugar
We all know that excess sugar can cause tooth decay and should be avoided. This is especially true with braces, as sugar can stick around longer and have more time to wreak havoc on the health of your teeth. That said, it is okay to indulge in some sugary foods and desserts during the holidays. Just be sure that you eat a healthy diet most of the time.
Holiday Menu Tips and Strategies
If you are wary about heading into the holidays, remember that a little preparation can go a long way. Here are some easy strategies to help you through.
Talk about the menu ahead of time if possible. If you are not eating at home, ask the host what types of dishes will be there and politely explain your restrictions. Plan to prepare or bring some dishes you know you like and can safely enjoy.
Take Smaller Bites
You can minimize the potential damage from hard or chewy foods by cutting them up into smaller pieces and chewing carefully. For foods you would need to bite into (like meat on the bone or corn on the cob), you can remove it from the bone or cob before enjoying it so that you no longer need to bite into your food.
There’s a Lot to Enjoy
There are still plenty of foods you can enjoy this holiday season. Here is a (certainly not complete) list of foods you have the green light to enjoy this season:
- Meat (off the bone)
- Mashed potatoes
- Sweet potatoes
- Cooked veggies
- Pasta and rice
- Creamed vegetables
- Soft Cheeses
- Biscuits and soft bread
- Pumpkin pie (and any soft pies)
- Cakes and cupcakes
- Soft cookies
- Ice cream
If you experience damage or other problems with your braces due to food or any other causes, contact our office right away. Thomas Orthodontics is here to help.
And check out part 2 of Your Complete Guide to Surviving the Holidays With Braces. We hope you enjoy your holiday feast with friends and family.