If this is your first holiday season with braces, you might be feeling a little worried that you won’t be able to enjoy all your favorite seasonal treats. Luckily, when it comes to Thanksgiving, most of the traditional fare is safe to eat with braces.
The general rule of thumb is avoid foods that are hard and sticky. Here are some Thanksgiving foods to avoid if you have braces:
- Popcorn – the hard kernel could damage your braces, both the brackets and the wires.
- Chips – anything too crunchy could potentially damage your braces
- Any type of nuts, including peanuts, almonds and walnuts
- Caramel – sorry, those caramel apples are off limits right now
- Crunchy vegetables – although good for your health, it is better to stick with softer cooked vegetables for now.
- Corn on the cob – if your family is serving corn on the cobb, just use your knife to scrape it off the cobb and eat it that way.
Thanksgiving foods that are safe to eat include:
- Turkey and Ham – Whatever your main meat for the holiday dinner is should be safe to eat. Just make sure you don’t eat off the bone and you cut the meat into smaller pieces before eating.
- Corn as long as it is not on the cob.
- Stuffing is nice and soft and should be no problem.
- Both sweet potatoes and mashed potatoes are safe to eat too.
- Soft, cooked vegetables are always a safe bet.
- Casseroles are fine as long as there is nothing too crunchy inside.
- Desserts – just don’t eat too much and make sure it is not too hard or crunchy.
Whatever you decide to chow down on this Thanksgiving, make sure you brush your teeth and floss thoroughly after the big meal. This is help keep cavities at bay and prevent any dental problems from cropping up.
What to Do If You Have Damaged Braces over Thanksgiving?
If you just can’t resist some of these taboo foods and you end up with bent wires or brackets, no need to panic. Here is what you need to do:
Get Pain Relief
Getting directly to your orthodontist might not be practical over the holiday weekend so the most important thing to do is to manage any pain as best as you can.
A simple way to get some pain relief is to rub an oral anesthetic like Orajel or Anbesol directly on the sensitive teeth and gums. You can use either a cotton swab or your finger to apply it. Oral anesthetics desensitize your teeth and gums so you don’t feel the discomfort of shifting teeth so acutely.
Another option is to take over-the-counter pain medicine. One word of caution though: Make sure you read the instructions on the medicine and follow the dosage instructions carefully.
In addition, cold temperatures can reduce inflammation and numb the mouth so you don’t feel the pain. If you have an icepack or a gel icepack handy this can work great. Just apply it to the outside of your mouth.
If you still have the orthodontic wax, a special wax that protects the inside of your lips and cheeks and your gums from the brackets of the braces, that your orthodontist gave you, then use that for any bent wires or brackets. The wax creates a barrier that keeps the sharp ends of the brackets from irritating your mouth.
To use, follow the instructions your orthodontist gives you. But the basic idea is that you mold the wax over the bracket that is causing the irritation. It is a nontoxic wax so you don’t have to worry about accidentally swallowing some, but remember to take it off before you brush your teeth. Reapply after brushing your teeth and after meals.
Leave a Message for Orthodontist
While your orthodontist’s office will most likely be closed on Thanksgiving and maybe Friday too, you should still call and leave a message explaining your concerns. Most orthodontists check their messages during off hours and will get back to you in a timely fashion. He or she can allay your fears and tell you how to best care for your mouth until you can get into the office. If it is a really serious injury to your mouth and braces, you might be told to go to the nearest emergency room instead.
Get to the Orthodontist as Soon as You Can
When talking to your orthodontist on the phone, be sure to set up a time for an appointment to get checked out. You should make it for as soon as possible. If you wait until your next scheduled appointment, you will be taking unnecessary chances with your oral health.
Bent wires and damaged brackets will slow down your treatment progress and could allow food to get stuck in between your teeth and braces causes tooth decay and inflamed gums.
Choosing the right orthodontist can also make any problems that crop up easier to deal with as well. An orthodontist who is trained on all the up-to-date orthodontic advances and who is truly invested in your welfare is going to do everything they can to help keep you comfortable throughout your treatment.
Before choosing an orthodontist, create a checklist of the important skills and qualities that are most important for them to have. Then compile a list of possible candidates by getting recommendations from family and friends and even your dentist.
Before making a final decision, be sure to meet with a couple of your top candidates first. You can’t really know who is going to be a good fit until you come face to face. This way you can get a sense of their chairside manner and how the staff treats patients. Also if their offices are dated and dusted, then that is a glaring warning side that they have not kept up with the latest orthodontic technology.
The team at Damon Orthodontics really care about your oral health, call them today for a free initial consultation. You can also visit their website at https://damon-orthodontics.com to learn more about what foods to avoid if you have braces.