As we head into the end of the year, many people are likely already planning their holiday meal menu. But if you have braces, spacers or other orthodontic work done, chances are that there may be parts of these festive meals that you are unable to eat.

Many kids -— and some adults — may be tempted to try and get away with munching on some chewy candy or other items that braces wearers have to wear. In the past, we have discussed some of these items. Today, we plan to talk a bit about the snacks that you should absolutely avoid, where they might be hiding in the holiday feast and why you should steer clear.

Here are the ingredients that you should not eat with braces:

  • Caramels – Along with candies like chewing gum, caramels are too sticky and tacky, and can pull at and break the brackets or wires that hold your braces together. Not to mention, they can easily get caught inside the brackets, making them hard to clean and more prone to plaque buildup. 
  • Chocolate Chips – Because they melt quickly and tend to get stuck in molars, chocolate chips — which are most likely to be found in the cookies and treats that decorate the dessert table — should be avoided.
  • Croutons – They may seem harmless, but their crunch and  texture can actually make them a potential threat to the integrity of your braces. If you have metal braces, either inside your teeth or outside, croutons can necessitate so much chewing that they could break the wires.
  • Gummy Bears – And Jelly Beans, Jujubes and Licorice fall into a similar category to caramels. Their chewy, sugary nature makes them an enemy to healthy teeth, especially ones that don braces. Whether they are in a dish up for grabs, or worked into a holiday treat, try and avoid these snacks as best you can.
  • Hard Pretzels – These may not be so pertinent during the holidays, but their crunch can still pose a threat to braces and teeth alike.
  • Ice cubes – Their cold texture can make the brackets and wires brittle and more susceptible to breakage. While it might be nice to have your drinks on the rocks this season, be sure not to chew the ice when your beverage is gone.
  • M&Ms and Skittles – Their hard outer shell, along with their chewy or chocolate interior, make these a nemesis to braces, especially when you are munching on them by the handful.
  • Nuts – These can be a real issue for braces wearers as they are both crunchy and chewy. Around the holidays, they are especially tricky to avoid as they seem to be in everything from stuffing and sides to desserts.
  • Pens and Pencils – Whether it is writing 'thank you' notes or your annual holiday card, chewing on pens and pencils in between strokes is often done without a second thought. But one slip of the pen or a split in the pencil can create a wedge into the wires that can cause breaks and damage. Be mindful during the holidays to not chew on your writing utensils.
  • Popcorn – Like nuts and pretzels, popcorn — especially the kernels — can break and rip away at brackets and wires. When it comes to the holidays, avoid eating popcorn, and just stick to stringing it on the tree!

If you are interested in getting adult braces, or seeking other orthodontic treatments, contact Upper Eastside Orthodontists for an appointment today! 

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