Thursday, November 22, 2012

Celebrating the Holidays with Braces

Celebrating the Holidays with Braces

What foods to eat and what foods to avoid this holiday season

With Thanksgiving already here and December clearly in site, the holiday season is really getting underway. It’s an exciting time of the year because there’s so much to look forward to including time off from school and work, family gatherings, gift giving and receiving, decorations, and let’s not forget the food! The holiday season brings with it fabulous foods that you probably don’t get to indulge in the rest of the year. Unfortunately, a lot of these delicious, mouth watering dishes pose a real problem to individuals with braces. To help, I’ve created two lists to guide individuals with braces safely through any holiday feast.

The Naughty List
If you have braces beware of the foods I’ve placed on the naughty list this year. Indulging in these foods could result in damage to your braces including loose bands, broken wires, or detached brackets. Damage can be costly, painful, and prolong treatment time.

Here are some of the foods to avoid this holiday season:

Carmel Candy
Candy Canes
Hard Breads
Peanut Brittle
Pecan Pie
Popcorn (Kernels)
Cranberries and Cranberry Sauce - may stain clear ties.
Snack Mix - typically contains nuts and hard pretzels which should be avoided.
Vegetable Trays - raw, hard vegetables like carrots need to be cut up.
Hard Cookies - go for soft cookies or soak hard cookies in milk. Watch out for nuts!

In general, you should limit your intake of foods and beverages (such as soda) that contain high amounts of sugar. Sugar is eaten by the bacteria that live in the mouth; in turn, the bacteria excrete acids which lead to tooth decay and cavities.

The Nice List
This holiday season, try to pick foods that I’ve placed on the nice list whenever possible. Play it safe! I’m sure no one wants to be spending the day after Thanksgiving at the orthodontist’s office. Here are some foods to enjoy this holiday season:

Cooked Vegetables
Soft Breads
Mashed Potatoes
Deviled Eggs
Pumpkin Pie
Sweet Potato Pie
Chocolate Pie

Enjoy your holiday season; spend it with your friends, family and colleagues - not your orthodontist! The best way to do that, if you wear braces, is to follow the naughty and nice lists I’ve created. If you see a dish on your dinning room table that isn’t on my lists the best way to evaluate it is to ask yourself these two questions:

  1. Is it sticky and/or chewy?
  2. Is it hard - if I bit into it, would it go crunch?

If the answer is yes to either of the above questions than avoid that food! Move on to other, friendlier dishes. I know this means giving up some of your favorite foods but in the long run, it’ll be worth it because you’re going to have a beautiful smile, and isn’t that one of the best holiday gifts you could give yourself?