Especially if you’re new to orthodontic treatment, celebrating the holidays with braces can feel a bit daunting. How do you know what’s safe to eat or not? Here are the best and worst holiday foods for braces so you can celebrate without worry.
Foods to Avoid
To start off, it’s important to know which foods to avoid so that you don’t find yourself in a sticky situation (pun intended). Orthodontists typically recommend you avoid foods that are sticky, chewy, crunchy, hard or that need to be bitten into. Some examples you may encounter during the holidays include caramels, hard pretzels or nuts, crunchy raw veggies, large chewy rolls, candied apples and hard candies like candy canes (if you bite or chew them, sucking on them is usually ok).
Now that we’ve covered a brief list of “don’t’s,” let’s talk about all the wonderful safer options to choose from!
It may sound like there are a lot of foods to avoid when you have braces, but there are many more things you can still enjoy.
Soft foods like cooked fruits and veggies are easy on your braces. Breads or rolls torn into smaller pieces can also be safe. Fish or meat pre-cut into bite-sized pieces. Soups, pastas and salads without croutons, hard seeds or nuts. Puddings and desserts that melt in your mouth and don’t contain caramel or crunchy ingredients like hard candy or nuts. Most things that are soft, don’t require biting into or lots of chewing are all good options. Examples include dishes like sweet potato casserole, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, cheesy potatoes, green bean casserole, custards and puddings, pumpkin, fruit or cream pies and countless other holiday favorites.
If your family or friends are preparing the meal, it can be helpful to talk with them beforehand about what will be on the menu and share the things you might need to avoid. Lots of people have special food requirements like food sensitivities and allergies, so it’s likely they’ll be understanding and want to adjust the menu so that there will be something you can enjoy.
If they are not able to, sometimes cutting foods into smaller pieces so that they don’t need to be chewed as much can make them safer to eat with braces, but check with your orthodontist before consuming any foods not typically recommended for braces-wearers.
Talk with Your Orthodontist
As the holidays approach, talk to your orthodontist about any specific questions you have about foods you expect will be served during the holidays. Your orthodontist is an expert on the best and worst holiday foods for braces and will be happy to help you figure out how to keep your braces safe while still enjoying the traditions and festivities of the holidays.