Celebrating Thanksgiving After Orthodontic Treatment

Thanksgiving looms, meaning the time when families gather for the annual holiday feast. Thanksgiving is joyous for most people. However, the event could be especially challenging for those who have recently undergone orthodontic work. Individuals facing such circumstances might experience apprehension as the big day nears.

Fortunately, however, the vast majority of traditional Thanksgiving foods are safe for individuals with orthodontic appliances affixed to their teeth.

As a general guideline, orthodontic patients are urged to refrain from consuming crunchy, hard, or sticky items. Sticky materials increase one’s risk of getting caught on and in between teeth and dental apparatuses. Moreover, hard or crunchy edibles heighten the risk of damaging objects such as wires and brackets.

It is perfectly understandable to hold such reservations. Thanksgiving is the last day anyone wants to experience some type of dental emergency. Therefore, with such concerns in mind, the team at Texas Orthodontic Specialists have compiled the following suggestions geared towards helping patients safely navigate the Thanksgiving experience:


These light bites are designed to quell hearty appetites until the big meal is ready to be served. Again, any edibles that are sticky, crunchy, or hard should be avoided like chips, raw vegetables, popcorn, and nuts. However, other commonly served appetizers such as cheeses, deviled eggs, deli meats, meatballs and dips with soft bread should not pose any difficulties.

The Main Course

Once again, many typical Thanksgiving fare will not typically harm orthodontia. A few important issues to note:

  • Holiday staples like turkey and ham will not wreak havoc with an orthodontic patient’s teeth or oral appliances. However, said meats should be cut into small pieces. Moreover, stringy pieces should be avoided as said materials could get stuck between teeth.
  • Stuffing. Most stuffing is soft. However, certain recipes might include potentially detrimental items like nuts. Therefore, when in doubt, an orthodontic patient should inquire what ingredients are included in any particular offering.
  • Vegetables. Cooked vegetables are suitable because they are usually soft and easy to chew. Mashed potatoes are often the most optimal choice because they are especially soft and sometimes creamy. If corn on the cob is offered, we urge our patients to remove kernels from cob and eat said items individually.
  • Casseroles. Usual Thanksgiving offerings like potato and green bean casseroles should not present any challenges. However, diners should be sure to confirm that said side dishes do not contain any hard, crunchy, or chewy items like nuts or marshmallows.
  • Bread. Provided the bread does not contain nuts or any other hard substances, most variations are safe.


Many people anticipate Thanksgiving desserts more than the main course. However, individuals with orthodontic work should approach this course of the feast with a certain degree of caution.

For the most part, soft cookies, pies, and cakes are safe assuming they are not comprised of crunchy or hard items. That said, one cannot go wrong with offerings such as jello, puddings, and mousses. Products like caramel, taffy and hard candies can damage both teeth and orthodontic devices.

Regardless of what our patients consume this Thanksgiving, oral health and orthodontic upkeep often hinges on adhering to good dental hygienic practices like brushing and flossing after meals. Such action will prevent tooth decay or other potential issues from emerging.

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