Taking Care of Braces During the Holidays

TTAKING CARE OF BRACES DURING THE HOLIDAYShe winter holidays in Omaha, Nebraska brings a cornucopia of sticky, sweet, and nut-filled treats. These are a delicious and often home-cooked tradition in many families. However, if you have braces from Dr. Laura Low or Dr. Julie Wees winter baked goods can pose a challenge. Here are some foods to watch out for and foods you can safely enjoy them while protecting your teeth:

Popcorn and Braces

The Problem
Candied or caramel-coated popcorn is traditional for the holiday season for enjoying while watching movies with the family. While you may love this tasty treat, it can be tricky to eat while you’re wearing braces. The sticky sugars can coat your teeth, promoting plaque buildup. Meanwhile, wearing braces just gives the popcorn’s hard shells more places to lodge into.

The Fix
Eat in moderation. Look for hull-less popcorn, which can be found online or in specialty stores. Opt for savory varieties or dust caramel-flavored powder over your serving.

Nuts and Braces

The Problem
From ‘chestnuts roasting over an open fire’ to your Grandma’s famous pecan pie, nuts are everywhere this holiday season. However, they can pose several problems. As you chew, nuts can break down into a creamy paste that can stick into crevices in your mouth. Little pieces can lodge around your braces. Finally, shards of shell can scratch your gums or even crack teeth.

The Fix
Check carefully for shells. Enjoy with a glass of water to help wash them down. Swap out nuts for fresh fruit in recipes.

Candied Fruit and Braces

The Problem
From candied orange peels to Maraschino cherries, these staples of fruitcakes and other treats all have one thing in common: they’re dense and sticky. You have to chew them for a long time before swallowing, letting you savor the flavor but also giving the fruit ample opportunity to get stuck on your braces. Once trapped there, the sugars these fruits are preserved in create a breeding ground for bacteria.

The Fix
Unfortunately, this is one case where you should try to avoid these foods entirely. You can easily swap out fresh orange peel or chopped apples without greatly changing your favorite holiday recipes.

Holiday Candy and Braces

The Problem
Fudge. Salted caramel. Candy canes. The holidays are overflowing with treats that are literally made of sugar. These don’t just threaten your waistline; they can also stick to teeth and supercharge plaque growth. The denser and stickier the candy, the harder it will be to brush away.

The Fix
Start off by making sensible swaps. Instead of a sticky toffee, try a caramel-infused hot chocolate to get your sweet fix. Don’t forget to brush your teeth afterward. Otherwise, try experimenting with sugar-free varieties of your favorite treats. The sugar-free industry has come a long way; many of these products taste identical to the regular version.

If All Else Fails

If you had to have a bite of your mother’s triple caramel fudge or risk family pandemonium, you can still minimize the damage. Indulge, then have a glass of water and brush your teeth. Finally, if there is a problem with your orthodontics, visit Wees & Low Orthodontics. Stay safe and happy holidays from all of us at Wees & Low Orthodontics!

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