This holiday season, while you are wearing braces, there are some things to keep in mind to ensure your smile stays healthy and you don’t put your orthodontic treatment at risk. While the winter holidays are considered the most wonderful time of the year, you want to be mindful of your braces and make some adjustments. For example, you can still enjoy your favorite hot chocolate or brandied eggnog by drinking with a straw to minimize contact on your teeth and braces.

Holiday Foods to Avoid with Braces

  • Gingerbread Cookies: If making gingerbread ornaments or houses is one of your family’s favorite traditions, remember that this festive staple becomes too hard to safely chew. So go ahead and enjoy them as decorations but skip chewing them this year.
  • Candy Canes: Who doesn’t love the cool chill of peppermint during the winter holidays? Go ahead and hang them on your tree and tuck them into stockings, but don’t try to eat them while wearing braces. Instead, enjoy this holiday flavor in soft peppermint patties and minty hot chocolate.
  • Sticky or Crunchy Treats: This year, avoid nutty or caramel sweets in any form, including pecan pie, peanut brittle, candy, or caramel apples. Treats like toffee or peppermint bark are also hard and sticky so avoid them.
  • Nuts: Even if you’ve got a traditional nutcracker at the ready, this is not the year to enjoy those chestnuts roasting on an open fire, including walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts (filberts), and Brazil nuts. Maybe eat the nutty chocolate spread (Nutella, anyone?) or nut butters instead.

Just so you don’t think we’re related to the Grinch, we have some wintery goodies that you can safely enjoy without worrying about your braces.

Braces-Friendly Holiday Foods

  • Hot Chocolate: Sip on peppermint or gingerbread flavored hot cocoa and even add melt-in-your-mouth marshmallows or whipped cream to protect your smile in braces.
  • Soft Baked Treats: Enjoy soft holiday cookies in all kinds of holiday shapes, including brownies, cupcakes, and cakes! Top them with confetti sprinkles and frosting galore. Just be sure to rinse, brush and floss your teeth afterward.
  • Festive Fruit: Oranges are awesome stocking stuffers hearkening back to long-ago traditions. Help yourself to festive fruit platters with cut-up melon chunks, strawberries, pineapples, bananas and kiwis to put a smile on your face.

Clean Your Braces and Teeth

After indulging in holiday goodies, brush and floss thoroughly. It helps to remove trapped food particles and oral debris off tooth surfaces, wires, and brackets. While you might be tempted to slack off during the whirlwind activities during winter break, it’s a bad idea because your teeth will pay the price. Take a few minutes to clean them throughout the day after enjoying sweets.

Flossing is easy with a floss threader to get in between brackets and under the braces’ wires. If you don’t already have one, a Waterpik makes dislodging food particles stuck behind the wires, between teeth, and around brackets with ease. It’s also a present you can give yourself that keeps on giving all year round.

Get Yourself a Travel Kit

If you’re lucky enough to travel for the holidays, be sure you’re prepared to keep your smile in great shape. Get a cool, travel-sized braces kit stocked with a toothbrush, dental floss, mouthwash, orthodontic wax, and a compact mirror to use after eating along with extra elastics as needed.

Wear a Mouthguard

If your family loves playing winter sports or engaging in other indoor and outdoor holiday activities, safeguard your smile! Does your family have a tradition of rock climbing indoors? Ice skating at a rink? Snowboarding, skiing or sledding? Do you enjoy ice hockey? Wearing a mouthguard during those kinds of activities can keep your teeth and orthodontics protected.

The Gift of Straight Teeth

This holiday season, while you are giving yourself the gift of a straightened teeth and an aligned bite, be sure to protect your investment. Before you know it, your time in braces will be up, and you can indulge in all your favorite activities again. We are always here to help you keep your teeth and gums healthy during orthodontic treatment!