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Azita Naghavi Khan, D.D.S.

Sabeeh Khan, D.D.S.

Best and Worst Holiday Foods for Braces

Best and Worst Holiday Foods for Braces

Especially if you’re new to orthodontic treatment, celebrating the holidays with braces can feel a bit daunting. How do you know what’s safe to eat or not? Here are the best and worst holiday foods for braces so you can celebrate without worry.

Foods to Avoid

To start off, it’s important to know which foods to avoid so that you don’t find yourself in a sticky situation (pun intended). Orthodontists typically recommend you avoid foods that are sticky, chewy, crunchy, hard or that need to be bitten into. Some examples you may encounter during the holidays include caramels, hard pretzels or nuts, crunchy raw veggies, large chewy rolls, candied apples and hard candies like candy canes (if you bite or chew them, sucking on them is usually ok).

Now that we’ve covered a brief list of “don’t’s,” let’s talk about all the wonderful safer options to choose from!

Better Options

It may sound like there are a lot of foods to avoid when you have braces, but there are many more things you can still enjoy.

Soft foods like cooked fruits and veggies are easy on your braces. Breads or rolls torn into smaller pieces can also be safe. Fish or meat pre-cut into bite-sized pieces. Soups, pastas and salads without croutons, hard seeds or nuts. Puddings and desserts that melt in your mouth and don’t contain caramel or crunchy ingredients like hard candy or nuts. Most things that are soft, don’t require biting into or lots of chewing are all good options. Examples include dishes like sweet potato casserole, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, cheesy potatoes, green bean casserole, custards and puddings, pumpkin, fruit or cream pies and countless other holiday favorites.

If your family or friends are preparing the meal, it can be helpful to talk with them beforehand about what will be on the menu and share the things you might need to avoid. Lots of people have special food requirements like food sensitivities and allergies, so it’s likely they’ll be understanding and want to adjust the menu so that there will be something you can enjoy.

If they are not able to, sometimes cutting foods into smaller pieces so that they don’t need to be chewed as much can make them safer to eat with braces, but check with your orthodontist before consuming any foods not typically recommended for braces-wearers.

Talk with Your Orthodontist

As the holidays approach, talk to your orthodontist about any specific questions you have about foods you expect will be served during the holidays. Your orthodontist is an expert on the best and worst holiday foods for braces and will be happy to help you figure out how to keep your braces safe while still enjoying the traditions and festivities of the holidays.

Call our Jericho, Merrick or Maspeth dental offices to make an appointment with a dentist who may be able to help you find out more about this topic, and improve your oral health.

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Keeping Your Breath Fresh With Braces

Keeping Your Breath Fresh With Braces

If you have braces, you probably already know that they can make oral hygiene a little more complicated and time consuming. First impressions are already nerve wracking and bad breath is an important concern many people have. Braces may compound all of that so here are a few ideas for keeping your breath fresh with braces.

What Causes Bad Breath?

Understanding what causes bad breath can go a long way towards keeping your breath fresh with braces. Most of the time, bad breath is caused by bacteria in the mouth. Bacteria content can grow out of balance in the mouth when adequate oral hygiene isn’t practiced regularly.

If your breath is frequently smelling less than fresh, it’s important to address it because bad breath is often a sign that there is extra bacteria lingering in the mouth which can lead to other problems as well such as cavities, gum disease or infection.

How Do I Fight Bad Breath?

Keeping your teeth clean is the number one way of keeping your breath fresh with braces. Brushing your teeth after each meal and flossing daily to remove food debris and plaque is usually all that is needed to maintain fresh breath.

If you’ve done this and your breath still doesn’t seem to stay fresh, be sure to focus on any difficult to clean areas that may harbor bacteria-containing plaque. For example, in between teeth, around the brackets or attachments of your braces or other orthodontic appliances, and along your gum line.

When to See a Dentist

It’s important to know when to visit your dentist to ensure good oral health. Professional cleanings are usually recommended every 6 months for those who practice good oral hygiene at home, so if it’s been more than 6 months since your last cleaning or you’re noticing signs that there may be bacteria or plaque buildup, such as bad breath, it’s important to see your dentist to ensure that it doesn’t cause other problems.

Braces can make oral hygiene extra challenging and professional dental cleanings are crucial especially when you are undergoing orthodontic treatment. If you’re experiencing recurring bad breath, don’t ignore it or mask it with a mint. Make an appointment with your dentist and get to the source of the problem.

Call our Jericho, Merrick or Maspeth dental offices to make an appointment with a dentist who may be able to help you find out more about this topic, and improve your oral health.

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