The holiday season has arrived, and it’s a time of family, friends and food. It’s no secret that holidays involve big meals and lots of candy, especially for children, but patients in braces should take certain precautions concerning what they eat. Orthodontists advise patients to avoid foods that may bend wires or break brackets because this can prolong the time in braces. Fortunately, there are many holiday treats that patients can still enjoy.
Foods to Avoid
- As mentioned in a previous post, refrain from hard and chewy candies, like Starbursts, Laffy Taffy, caramels and toffee. These types of candy put extra force on brackets and bands, which can cause them to pop off. This may set back treatment by one or two months.
- Do NOT bite into candy canes or lollipops. Though it may be tempting, hard chewing is bad for braces and teeth.
- In addition, don’t treat your teeth like a nutcracker. Stay away from whole, hard nuts and foods that include them, like pecan pie, because they can damage wires. Exceptions are foods and candies that include blended nuts.
- Other foods to avoid are crisp cookies, popcorn and pretzels.
Foods to Enjoy
- Many delicious foods at the holiday table are easy on braces, including turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, stuffing and most casseroles. Make sure to slice turkey and ham thinly to reduce chewing.
- Your dessert plate can still be filled with cake, pie, cheesecake and soft cookies. Drinks like eggnog and hot chocolate are a perfect sweet choice.
- Instead of chewy candies, put chocolate in your stocking this year. The American Association of Orthodontics recommends melt-in-your-mouth chocolates as an ideal candy.
Don’t forget to brush and floss your teeth, especially after eating sweet foods and candy. The team at the Jacksonville University School of Orthodontics wishes you a happy holiday season.