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The holiday season is in full swing here in Thornton, CO! With it comes a whirlwind of parties, gatherings and treats. If you’re navigating this festive time with braces or Invisalign clear aligners, you might be worried you’ll have to scale back on celebrating. 

The good news is that’s not the case at all. You can enjoy the holidays without compromising your braces or Invisalign results. Dr. Brandon Scheer and the team at Shine Orthodontics are here to help! We’re sharing 8 tips for a smile-friendly holiday season. 

Maintain A+ Oral Hygiene 

Yup, you probably knew this one was coming. In the face of delicious, sugary and starchy foods, consistently brushing and flossing with braces or aligners is important. Teeth move most efficiently in a healthy mouth, and developing gum disease or cavities can interfere with treatment. 

To remove plaque and food debris, floss your teeth once a day. As for brushing with braces or Invisalign, brush in the morning, after meals and snacks, and before bed using fluoride toothpaste. If you want a little extra protection, swish with a fluoride mouthwash for 30 seconds twice daily. 

Steer Clear of Foods That Can Damage Your Braces

Really hard, chewy and sticky foods (i.e., nuts, popcorn, hard rolls, gummy candy, etc.) not only tend to get stuck in your braces, increasing your risk of tooth decay, but they can also break a bracket or bend a wire. If you need a refresher on eating with braces, check out last year’s post, “6 Holiday Foods to Avoid With Braces (And What to Eat Instead).” 

Skipping foods that can damage your braces will be well worth it when you see your new smile. And, truthfully, the number of foods you can eat with braces far outweighs the few you’ll have to avoid. 

Keep Your Orthodontic Hygiene Kit On Hand

Put together a hygiene kit complete with a travel toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss and orthodontic relief wax. Bring it with you when you leave the house, whether traveling or attending a party. This way, you’ll always be prepared to care for your appliance and teeth, and you’ll be able to handle any minor emergencies. 

Be Mindful of Your Clear Aligners

If you wear clear aligners, there are no food restrictions and you can eat all of your holiday favorites. However, remember to take your aligners out before eating. Eating with Invisalign in your mouth can cause food and cavity-causing acids to get trapped between the plastic and your teeth. 

What about drinking with Invisalign? We recommend removing your aligners before drinking anything aside from plain water. Again, liquids will get stuck under the aligners if you don’t. 

Bring your Invisalign case with you so you can store your aligners in it during meals and snacks. If all of the holiday excitement has you distracted, set reminders on your phone or through the Invisalign app to wear your aligners for 22 hours per day and change to the next tray according to your treatment plan. 

Drink Plenty of Water

Staying hydrated keeps the saliva flowing in your mouth. This is key because saliva contains minerals, including calcium and phosphates, that strengthen and remineralize enamel, reducing the risk of tooth decay. The act of drinking water also helps to wash away any food bits stuck in your teeth or braces. 

Enjoy sugary drinks like hot chocolate and apple cider in moderation, opting for water instead, when possible. It’s also a good idea to rinse your mouth with water after having a sweet drink or after eating if you don’t have your toothbrush nearby.

Aim for Balance

Dr. Scheer would never ask patients to forgo grandma’s famous pumpkin pie or dad’s world-class cookies. That said, balance is important. 

The bacteria in the mouth feed on starches and sugars, releasing acids that erode the enamel. To minimize the impact, reduce your intake of these types of foods between gatherings and eat a healthy, well-rounded diet full of fresh vegetables, fruit, lean protein and low-fat dairy instead.

Reach Out if You Need Us

Whether you’re dealing with an issue like a poking braces wire or you have a question, our Thornton orthodontics office is here for you. Give us a call at (303) 452-7777 and a friendly team member will be happy to help. Dealing with an emergency? Text Dr. Scheer anytime! 

Embrace the Holiday Spirit

Don’t let braces or clear aligners stand in the way of having fun. Wearing an appliance is part of the journey to a healthy, stunning smile. It doesn’t mean you have to put your life on hold. So, no matter what stage of treatment you’re in, get in those photos with your family and friends and make those holiday memories! 

Happy Holidays From Our Family to Yours

The team at Shine Orthodontics would like to wish everyone a safe, happy holiday season! If you have questions about how to survive the holidays with braces or clear aligners that we didn’t answer, don’t hesitate to give us a call

Haven’t started treatment yet? Give yourself the gift of a confident smile. Book a complimentary consultation with our board-certified orthodontist in Thornton, CO.