Navigating Thanksgiving With Braces

Thanksgiving Dinner Table

Thanksgiving is all about food, family, and friends. Family traditions, grandma’s family recipes, seeing relatives you don’t get to see on a daily basis, and of course, football make Thanksgiving one of the most fun holidays of the year. But when you’re wearing braces, it can be a bit tricky to navigate.

When you’re wearing braces, certain foods are off-limits. But that doesn’t mean you can’t indulge in your favorites at your family’s Thanksgiving feast. Here are some quick “do’s and don’ts” about what to eat and what to avoid when enjoying your festive feast.

Thanksgiving foods you can eat with braces 

Lucky for you, most of your favorite Thanksgiving dishes are just fine to eat even if you have braces. These are foods that are soft and pose no threat to your brackets, arch wires or the glue that holds the brackets to your teeth.

Thanksgiving dishes that are A-OK to eat with braces include:

  • Turkey
  • Ham
  • Dressing
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Sweet potato soufflé (but if it includes pecans, avoid those!)
  • Green beans
  • Green bean casserole
  • Beans
  • Pumpkin pie
  • Sweet potato pie
  • Fruit pies like apple and cherry
  • Soft rolls and biscuits

Thanksgiving foods to avoid if you have braces 

Where braces-wearers need to be more careful is with the snack foods that might be served as appetizers or hors d’oeuvres at your Thanksgiving gatherings.

Foods you want to avoid at Thanksgiving if you have braces:

  • Corn on the cob (not an hors d’oeuvre, but still)
  • Pretzels
  • Nuts (watch out for that sweet potato casserole as well as cakes and pies)
  • Raw fruits and veggies like carrots and apples
  • Desserts that include caramel
  • Toffee
  • Hard candy
  • Peppermints
  • Peppermint bark
  • Pecan pralines
  • Bread or rolls with a crunchy, hard crust

And don’t forget to brush after the meal is done! 

One of the most important things to remember when getting ready for your Thanksgiving feast is to pack a toothbrush, toothpaste and floss to bring with you. Braces are more likely to hold onto food particles that can lead to decay, bad breath, stains and saying “Oh no there’s something in my teeth!” when you see the family pictures taken that day. After your meal, head to the bathroom for a quick brush and floss to clean your teeth and protect your reputation as the “most photogenic family member.”

Special note: If you’re wearing Invisalign, the rules are different! 

While traditional metal braces are the most popular option for tooth-straightening today, more and more people are opting for Invisalign to achieve the straight smile they’ve always wanted – and the rules for Invisalign are a LOT different!

If you’re straightening your teeth with Invisalign, rules for what to eat and not eat don’t apply to you! With Invisalign, you simply remove your aligners when you eat. So go ahead and chow down on all your favorite sticky, chewy and crunchy Thanksgiving favorites!

Want to know more about getting the straight smile of your dreams?

Give us here at Atlanta Orthodontic Specialists a call. We’ll be happy to answer all your questions and help you get on the road to a beautifully straight smile that brightens all your holidays!