The holiday season is nearly here! That means festivities, family fun and, of course, delicious food. However, sometimes our Kelowna braces patients wonder, what can I eat after getting braces during the holiday season? The answer is, you can still eat most of the things you love with a few exceptions and some tweaks. The team here at Align Ortho is sharing what to eat with braces during the holidays, as well as what to steer clear of so you can enjoy your meals without any guesswork.
Eating and Braces: An Overview
Before we dive into braces-friendly holiday foods, let’s have a quick refresher on eating with braces in general. When you first get your braces put on or after adjustments, your teeth can be a little sensitive. While Invisalign aligners are removable and there are no food restrictions, your teeth may also be tender when you first start treatment or switch to a new tray. In either instance, soft foods and cold foods and drinks are your best bet until any discomfort subsides. Mashed potatoes, soup, yogurt, oatmeal, smoothies, milkshakes, ice water, popsicles, protein shakes and pasta are all good choices when it comes to what to eat with braces when your teeth are sore.
When you feel ready to tackle your usual diet, foods that are easy on the mouth are still excellent choices, such as steamed veggies, tender meats, rice, soft tortillas, fish and soft cheeses because they won’t damage your brackets and wires.
There are certain foods to avoid with braces, including:
- Foods you bite directly into like whole raw apples, carrots, corn on the cob, and meat on the bone (take meat off the bone and corn off the cob)
- Really hard foods, such as pizza crust, hard rolls, hard taco shells, Doritos and nuts
- Sticky foods, including taffy, caramel, Starburst, Sour Patch Kids and gum
- Chewy foods like licorice and beef jerky
As you can see there are some things you’ll have to forgo until your braces treatment is over. However, it’s actually less about what to eat with braces and more about how to eat with braces. You can have most things if you cut the food into small, bite-sized pieces. Never bite or tear at foods with your front teeth. Instead, chew with your back teeth and make everything as easy to eat as possible.
Another thing to consider is that brackets and wires tend to trap food and plaque, which can eventually lead to cavities. This is why you should brush your teeth in the morning, after meals and snacks, and before bed. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Be sure to floss once daily as well using a floss threader or an orthodontic flosser.
Bring a travel toothbrush and toothpaste with you when you’re on the go, especially during the holidays if you’ll be eating sweets. If you forget to bring your toothbrush, rinse your mouth out really well after eating and then brush your teeth as soon as you get home. Brush for two minutes each session and get around your brackets and wires, along the gum line and give each tooth some individual attention.
What Not to Eat With Braces During the Holidays
Keeping that list of foods to avoid with braces in mind, there are some holiday foods you’ll want to stay away from. While it might seem like a pain, any minor sacrifices will be well worth the smile you get at the end of treatment! Here’s what not to eat with braces during the holidays:
- Pies, cookies, brownies or tarts with nuts in them
- Nuts, either roasted or plain
- Caramel apples
- Raw carrots and other hard veggies from vegetable platters
- Meat on the bone
- Hard gingerbread cookies
- Toffee and other chewy or sticky sweets
- Hard rolls
- Candy canes
Braces-Friendly Holiday Foods
Now that we got the bad news out of the way, it’s on to the positive. There are plenty of braces-friendly holiday foods and here are some of our favorites:
- Mashed potatoes
- Roasted or steamed Brussels sprouts
- Salmon and other soft-cooked fish
- Turkey (tender and off the bone)
- Other tender-cooked meats
- Soft cheese
- Macaroni and cheese
- Soft cookies, including soft gingerbread cookies
- Brownies and cakes without nuts
- Pumpkin pie
- Apple pie
- Plain chocolate, like Hershey’s bars
- Cooked carrots
- Steamed and roasted vegetables
- Baked potatoes
- Sweet potatoes and yams
- Cranberries and cranberry sauce
- Apple cider
Now that you know what to eat with braces during the holidays, we hope you enjoy the festivities and all of the delicious braces-friendly foods! If you’d like to end your 2019 by getting started on a straighter smile, book a consultation with Dr. James Scramstad at Align Ortho in Kelowna today.