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6 Holiday Foods to Avoid With Braces (And What to Eat Instead)You know what they say about the holidays: it’s time to eat, drink and be merry! But what if you have braces this holiday season? At Shine Orthodontics, we’re just as excited about the festivities as our Thornton orthodontic patients but it’s also our job to give it to you as straight as your teeth will be post-treatment (see what we did there?). The truth is that there are some rules around what you can and cannot eat with braces, and they apply during the holidays too.

But before all your favorite holiday treats become mere dreams of sugarplums dancing in your head, wait for the good news! There are plenty of braces-friendly food swaps you can make to keep your braces safe and your smile healthy throughout the holidays. In this post, Dr. Brandon Scheer and his team will share:

  • Foods to eat and foods to avoid with braces
  • Braces-safe holiday food swaps
  • Tips for a healthy holiday season

Foods to Avoid with Braces

Getting braces is both an adventure and an adjustment: you get to start your journey towards a healthy, straighter smile, but you also have to get used to doing things a little differently. Brushing and flossing gets a little bit more complicated, and figuring out what foods are safe for braces can take some time. So, as you head into the holidays, here’s a brief overview of the ground rules for eating with braces.

You’ll need to avoid any foods that are hard, crunchy, sticky or chewy, and foods that you have to bite into. And that’s it. If you apply those rules to everything you eat, you’ll be in the clear. That means skipping out on hard foods like popcorn and nuts, crunchy foods like chips and hard taco shells, sticky foods like taffy and caramel, chewy foods like bagels and pizza crusts, and things you bite directly into like whole apples or corn on the cob.

Why do you need to avoid these things? Because they put your appliance at risk for damage. Hard and crunchy things can break your braces off your teeth, while sticky and chewy things can get caught in your hardware, making it difficult to keep your teeth clean and healthy. If you damage your braces, you’ll need to come see your Thornton orthodontist for an emergency appointment, which could set your treatment time back. And if food particles get stuck and sit on your teeth, you’re putting yourself at higher risk for developing cavities. So stick to the rules and you’ll be all set!

This or That: Holiday Feast Edition

Now that we’ve covered the ground rules, it’s time to play a game of “this or that.” Just scan through the holiday favorites below and pick which one you think is safe to eat with braces. Then keep reading to check your answers!

safe foods to eat with braces

What to Eat During the Holidays with Braces

Okay, are you ready to find out how you did? Let’s look at each of those pairings in more detail so you feel confident making the right choices about what to eat with braces this holiday season.

Pumpkin pie or grandma’s fruitcake

If you picked pumpkin pie, you were right! Fruitcakes, while a classic holiday staple, contain sticky dried fruit and hard, crunchy nuts, making them off limits for braces wearers. Pumpkin pie, on the other hand, is soft, creamy and easy to eat with braces. And let’s be honest, who really likes fruitcake anyway? At least you have braces as an excuse to let grandma down easy!

Hard gingerbread cookies or shortbread

This one was kind of a giveaway, so we hope you guessed shortbread. Gingerbread cookies tend to be too crunchy for braces so choose soft cookies, like shortbread or soft gingerbread, instead. Just make sure whatever cookies you’re eating do not contain nuts!

Turkey drumsticks or turkey breast

Turkey is absolutely safe for braces but it must be cut off the bone first. That’s because if you bite into meat on the bone, you could accidentally bite into the bone and break your braces, or worse, chip a tooth. So whether you’re having turkey, chicken, lamb or any other bone-in meat, just make sure you cut it off the bone before you eat.

Roasted veggies or raw veggies

We love a good veggie platter at a holiday party but with braces, it’s best to stay away from raw vegetables. Instead, pick roasted veggies like carrots, potatoes, beets or turnips — or all of the above!

Caramel apples or apple pie

Did you pick caramel apples? We hope not! That’s got sticky, chewy, hard and crunchy all over it, not to mention it’s also a food you bite into. Fortunately, apple pie is a perfect braces-friendly swap.

Chocolate or candy canes

Hard candies are a hard no for people with braces, so you’ll have to skip the candy canes this year. But you can still get your sugar fix with chocolates, cakes, ice cream and pies — as long as you make sure there are no nuts involved.

How to Have a Braces-Safe Holiday

Girl smiling with Braces

We want you to get the most out of your holidays, without having to worry about how best to take care of your braces. Here are some of our simple tips and tricks to keep your teeth healthy so you can focus on enjoying whatever you do to celebrate this time of year.

  • Floss daily: With braces, you should be flossing your teeth at least once every day. Ask your orthodontist for a floss threader or an orthodontic flosser to make the process easier.
  • Brush your teeth after every meal, snack, treat and beverage: Yes, you really should brush after every single thing you eat (and everything you drink other than water). Food particles love to hide behind brackets and wires, so make a habit of brushing right after you eat or drink.
  • Stick to the food rules: Remember what you can’t eat with braces so that it’s super easy to identify all the tasty things you can eat. Don’t eat hard, crunchy, sticky or chewy foods, or foods you bite into. Do eat … everything else!
  • Have a happy holiday: Enjoy yourself! Just because you have braces doesn’t mean you can’t have a fun and festive holiday season.

Need to book a last minute pre-holiday appointment with Dr. Scheer? Thinking of starting orthodontic treatment in the new year? Contact Shine Orthodontics today and we’ll be happy to help.