As we head into the holidays, we wanted to share our best tips for keeping them fun, while taking great care of the smile we’re creating together. While visions of sugar plums may be dancing in your head, Christmas candy can be bad for braces. Travel may present challenges in caring for braces, but it doesn’t have to. Preparation is key to treating yourself to the joys of the season but not at the expense of your braces.
CRUSH: Candies to Avoid (and Treats You Can Enjoy!)
Truthfully the holidays tend to be a time of great temptation when it comes to candy. Between Christmas potlucks, office parties, and family gatherings there’s no shortage of candy canes and gumdrops. We want to make it easy for you to remember which foods to steer clear of and the ones you can still safely treat yourself to over the holidays.
The acronym CRUSH will remind you of the foods to avoid that could cause a problem for your braces. CRUSH stands for foods that are Crunchy, Rubbery, Unknown, Sticky, or Hard.
Here are examples of typical holiday foods on the CRUSH list:
- Peanut brittle
- Nuts (They are hard and can get stuck in your braces.)
- Starlight mints, candy canes, and other hard candies
- Gummy candies and caramels
- Whole apples — if you do eat apples be sure to cut them into sections, NEVER bite into a whole apple
- Candied fruit (If you’re looking for an excuse to turn down fruit cake now you have one. Your orthodontist says it’s too sticky.)
Holiday Snacks to Eat with Braces
Just because some foods are on the “naughty list” when you have braces doesn’t mean everything is off limits. Here are some braces-friendly foods that are on the “nice” list:
- Rice Krispie treats
- Pizza (Cut it up with a knife and fork)
- Popcorn (but not the kernels)
Braces are a long-term investment in the lifetime smile you’ve always dreamed of. It’s worth making some short-term sacrifices and choosing foods that are gentler on your braces to stay on track.
Pack a Braces Kit (And Other Holiday Travel Tips). It’s important to continue good oral hygiene habits while on break or traveling. The holidays are not the time to slack on brushing, flossing, and keeping those rubber bands in place.
If you’re traveling, pack a braces care kit that includes: flossers, wax, and your retainer. Make sure to put your retainer in its case when it’s not in your mouth and label the case with your name and contact information. Brush your teeth twice a day (or more often as needed) and wear rubber bands consistently. If you’ve recently had your braces removed you’ll need to wear your retainer all the time to maintain the position of your teeth.
Have Fun: Christmas Colors for Your Braces
Braces don’t have to be boring. The holidays are the perfect time to mix it up and make a statement with your rubber band colors. Traditional green and red? Peppermint colors? Blue and white for Hanukkah? Don’t miss an opportunity to be festive! We can talk about your options for colorful holiday braces at your next appointment.
Handling Holiday Orthodontic Emergencies
Caring for your braces at Christmas doesn’t need to be stressful. Do your best to steer clear of any foods that are crunchy, rubbery, unknown, sticky or hard (CRUSH) and be sure to keep up with caring for your teeth, gums, and braces Thanks to advances in bonding materials, we have fewer breakages than we have in years past but accidents still happen. If you experience any problems or are in pain, please give us a call at 901.756.4316. Even if the office is closed, we check messages for emergencies and we can call you back and talk you through solutions.
Your Year-Round Memphis-Area Orthodontist
We love to help our patients achieve their perfect smile all year. If you’re considering braces we’d love to meet you, discuss your goals, and come up with a treatment plan together. To schedule a free consultation with Dr. Piper, please call 901.756.4316. Let’s start creating the smile you’ve always wanted today.