With Thanksgiving in just a few short weeks, many of us will be busy planning meals and coordinating with family at home or at a distance. Though it can be a nice time of year for gathering and good eating, it can be stressful for people with orthodontic appliances. If this is your first Thanksgiving after receiving extensive dental treatment, you might be wondering if there are foods you’re allowed to enjoy or if the entire dinner table has suddenly become off limits.
As with Halloween, which can be difficult for people with braces to enjoy. Avoiding foods that are too crunchy, hard, or sticky is best for newly set braces. This limits damage to wires and brackets, and keeps sticky food from getting trapped between teeth and braces.
Now let’s take a more detailed look at Thanksgiving dinner and what you can enjoy and should avoid.
Waiting for the main dinner to be served and to give everyone a chance to settle in, you’ll probably have some appetizers handy. All finger foods are not created equal, and while some may pose a challenge to your braces some are still considered safe to snack on.
Some safer options to hold you over until the actual dinner include cocktail sausages, meatballs, deviled eggs, cheese, and soft bread. It’s best to steer clear of nuts, chips, popcorn, and most raw vegetables. These crunchy foods can damage your appliance, and cause discomfort to your teeth.
The main course arguably receives the most attention on Thanksgiving, and luckily for people with braces is that a lot of these traditional foods are safe for those appliances.
Most breads ought to be fine, granted that they are not filled with nuts and their texture isn’t too hard. This would include bread that is too toasted.
In addition to being a healthy option, cooked vegetables are safe for your appliance. This would even include mashed potatoes, sweet or otherwise. With a softer texture after cooking makes them easier to chew and lessens the chance they will stay trapped. Corn on the cob, however is high risk. Eating them from your plate is the better way to go.
Casseroles are a favorite at this time of year because they combine so many ingredients into the same dish. This is also a safe dish thanks to their softer texture, but you’ll want to avoid a crunchy garnish, hard foods inside, or marshmallows added to sweet potatoes.
Stuffing is probably one of the softest dishes of the evening, but some people may add walnuts and pecans for flavor. Some liquid flavoring added to the stuffing would be the better way to go, as these nuts will crunch too much for your braces. To be safe, be sure to ask the people who cooked what was added to the stuffing before serving yourself.
Whether you’re anticipating a turkey, duck, ham or some non-meat option, most meat and vegetarian replacements are safe for your teeth. As long as you’re careful to cut your portions into small enough pieces to keep stringy meat away from brackets and wires.
This is where most people get confused as to what is or isn’t OK to eat. Cookies, cake, pudding, mousse, and pies have plenty of soft parts that should be no problem. But additives like caramel, nuts, toffee, or bark make them a danger to your appliances.
However you decide to fill your plate on Thanksgiving, make sure to practice good oral hygiene at the end of the night. That means you should floss and brush thoroughly at the end of the meal to keep from forming cavities, enamel eroding, and braces in good working condition.
Contact Rick Herrmann Orthodontics to answer your questions or to receive more tips on how to enjoy your holiday the healthy way.