Fall is a beautiful time to be here in Georgia. We love that the Thanksgiving season gives us a chance to pause and be thankful for all of the good things in life, including our wonderful patients! You are the reason we do what we do in our orthodontic practice every day, and we are thankful to be a part of your smile journey.
Sometimes it can be difficult to enjoy your favorite holiday foods during orthodontic treatment, especially if they are sticky or too chewy to safely eat with your braces. However, we have some good news! Most traditional Thanksgiving foods are actually already braces friendly. This guide will give you some information about which Thanksgiving dishes to indulge in and which ones to save for next year, when your braces are off.
While you’re cooking or waiting for dinner to be ready, of course you’re going to treat yourself to some appetizing snacks! Be sure to avoid foods like crunchy raw veggies, crusty or tough breads, and other foods that are difficult to chew. Try snacking on something softer, like cheese and crackers or fresh fruit!
Once the dinner plates come out, starting with a salad is great way to balance out some of the heavier traditional Thanksgiving treats you’ll be enjoying. Leafy salad greens are awesome for you and your teeth, but be weary of sneaky toppings like raw veggies and croutons that can be too crunchy and damage your braces. Try toppings like carrot curls, hard boiled egg, and berries!
Luckily, most of the traditional main dishes at the Thanksgiving table are already safe to eat with braces! Slow cooked meats like turkey, ham, and chicken can all be tender enough to chew if you have braces. You’ll want to cut up your meat, and any other tough foods, into bite-sized pieces. Fried meats can also be difficult to eat, as they are usually less tender. Avoid eating meat directly off the bone, which requires a harmful tearing action that can damage your braces. Sorry, no turkey legs this year!
Splurge on Side Dishes
Orthodontic patients are able to easily enjoy classic Thanksgiving sides like potatoes, corn bread, steamed veggies, rolls, stuffing, and soft casseroles. One traditional side dish that you’ll need to watch out for is corn on the cob, as the same tearing action that makes turkey legs a bad choice is required to bite the corn off the cob with your front teeth. However, you can still enjoy some delicious corn. Just scrape it off the cob first!
A lot of Thanksgiving desserts are also braces friendly! Most pie flavors like like pumpkin, chocolate cream, and apple are all soft enough to chew. If you have braces, you’ll want to avoid desserts with nuts, (like pecan pie), and sticky foods like caramel apples. If you’re looking to order some pies for your holiday celebration, check out our local favorites like Southern Baked Pie in Alpharetta or Crave Pie Studio in Duluth!
A Note on Invisalign
If you have Invisalign instead of traditional braces, you’ll have a little bit more flexibility when it comes to making dinner choices. However, remember that you should wear your invisalign trays for 22 hours per day for maximum efficiency. You may want to cut down on snacking before dinner so that your trays are not out for hours at a time. It is also important to brush and floss your teeth before you put your trays back in, even between dinner and dessert!
If you are an orthodontic patient, be sure to bring your toothbrush and floss with you to dinner so that you can clean your teeth and braces after enjoying your delicious Thanksgiving meal. Happy holidays!