Braces and The Holiday Season

Girl in braces eating hard candy

The holidays are a time for family and giving. For those that are wearing braces, it can pose an exercise in self-restraint as well as a wonderful opportunity for those around them to show their support, by both the gifts they choose and altering habits slightly to accommodate those that will be wearing braces.

A brace wearer’s diet is something they have to be very mindful of. The holidays are filled with the types of treats and foods that can create some issues for them. Here are a few little modifications that can be made to help them cope better over the holidays.

Holiday Candy

Your inclination is to load up stockings and family get-togethers with all manners of gummy or chewy candy and chocolate treats during the holidays. But for those that have braces, it might be time to consider something else to stock stuffings with this year. These types of foods can cause any manner of issues from pulling a bracket off a tooth to tooth decay and discoloration when they get trapped around the brackets.

Candy Canes

This striped, Holiday Season staple is as much a part of the festivities as presents and overall cheer. But it can play havoc on teeth and braces alike. You might find yourself with a bracket that has popped off or a damaged archwire and an orthodontist that is not in the office over the holiday season. Additionally, the high sugar content is not ideal for your overall dental health and can lead to an increased chance of cavities. Keep them on the tree or mantlepiece and out of your mouths.

Alternate Snacks

Dried fruit (especially the all-natural variety minus added sugar) is a tasty alternative. It’s no Taffy, but it is a nice alternative that is both better for your braces and your overall health that won’t have you making an emergency visit to the orthodontist. But don’t go crazy with it, it is still quite chewy.

One recipe offered by Adelberg Pediatric Dental is a new take on candied apples (which are a no-no), called Black Apples:

“Instead of candied and caramel apples, cut some thin apple slices and allow your kids to dip in a creamy chocolate sauce for a sweet treat!”

Additionally, leafy greens are a good source of calcium to help stockpile the stuff you need for healthy teeth and bones as your teeth shift. Finding fruits that are high in Vitamin C (like strawberries, cherries, and oranges) can help to strengthen the gums. Just remember to watch out for seeds and hard pits.

Dark chocolate (without any nuts or fillings) is also a nice alternative to milk chocolate because being higher in cocoa it has more iron, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, and manganese with less added sugar, and you require less of it to hit the mark for your chocolate craving.

Different Cooking Techniques

If you are hosting family and friends this holiday season, and you are preparing a meal for someone with braces, consider limiting (or lowering) the amount of processed sugar you use. Consider using sweetener substitutes like xylitol or erythritol—these can help guard against tooth decay.

Gifting for Brace Wearers

Tooth discoloration is a very real concern for many brace wearers as they approach the end of their time in braces. The holiday season is a perfect time to put some of those concerns to rest with a gift certificate for professional tooth whitening. Even a DIY whitening kit shows your support. Freshly whitened teeth are a perfect complement to that brand new look and perfect smile.

There are other thoughtful (and useful) gifts for those brace wearers on your gifting list. Electric toothbrushes fitted with heads specially designed to make cleaning braces easily are great gifts for those fitted with orthodontic appliances.

Another great gift is the Waterpik to help with cleaning both the braces and the gums for a deeper, healthier clean than just using floss (which you shouldn’t expect to stop using!).

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Nobody really looks forward to getting toothpaste as a gift during the holiday season, but you can get the brace wearer in your life a little tube of thoughtfulness with toothpastes designed for those that have orthodontic appliances. This article looks at some options that can help with dental hygiene in braces.

Have a wonderful Holiday Season from all of us here at Orthodontic Associates and here’s to a happy, healthy and smile-filled New Year!


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