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Eating well is important. We have outlined some of the basics of good nutrition in our previous blog post–but what about the holidays? Does this mean you need to avoid all the goodies the holidays have to offer? At Andolino Orthodontics, we work hard, but we know how to play, too! We understand that there are many holiday treats that are very tempting, but can damage your braces. So, in the spirit of the holidays, Dr. Andolino and our team have compiled a list of tempting treats–and what to eat instead.

Pecan Pie: Unfortunately, everything about pecan pie is bad for braces. Sticky caramel, sitting on a starchy crust, topped with nut pieces. Unfortunately there is no direct substitution for the sticky caramel texture. But don’t despair! Nut pound cake (using almond or walnut extract as a flavorant) paired with a vanilla cream sauce is a delicious substitute for this high-flavor dessert.

Peanut Brittle and Toffee: Toffee is both hard and sticky, AND it often has nut pieces. All of this together spells bad news for braces. Try making some soft peanut butter fudge instead–with smooth peanut butter, of course!

Pretzels: Hard pretzels are a common party snack, but they can damage your brackets and wires. Instead, try making a batch of soft pretzels.

Caramel: Eating sticky caramel is a very bad plan if you have braces. Try a caramel-flavored hot chocolate or coffee creamer, instead. Remember to accompany all sugary beverages with a glass of plain water!

Candied or Caramel Apples: Whole apples coated in hard candy or caramel is simply a bad idea. As with the other treats in this blog, they can damage your braces and teeth. Instead, try fruit slices dipped in chocolate. Oranges, berries, and thin apple slices are all good for this. Remember to accompany all citrus and acidic treats with a large glass of water!

Popcorn: Popcorn kernels getting caught between teeth is obnoxious. However, with braces, kernels can be very difficult to remove, leading to painful inflammation of the gum tissue and damage to wires and brackets. Definitely skip the popcorn this year! Instead, reach for some crunchy potato chips. Make sure to brush and floss thoroughly after eating, as the starchy chips can feed the bacteria that live in your mouth.

Candy Canes: The quintessential candy of winter, candy canes are also bad for your braces. Crunchy hard candy can break brackets, and the sticky residue from the candy cane is hard to clean. Instead, try adding peppermint syrup to your white hot chocolate, or eating soft peppermint patties coated in chocolate.

Remember, all treats in moderation! Stick with small portion sizes. It is also beneficial for your mouth if you do not snack on sugary, starchy, or acidic foods throughout the day. This increases the amount of time the teeth are exposed to the harmful substances, and can increase instances of tooth decay. Have a treat or two, then stop. Clean your mouth thoroughly, then enjoy the rest of your holiday!

For more information, contact Dr. Frank Andolino at Andolino Orthodontics in New York, New York. You can reach our team at 212-753-5575. We are here to help you have a happy holiday season!