Fun Holiday Treats Even when you Have Braces

December 12th, 2019

When the holiday season comes around, there's no need for kids with braces to miss out on the traditional treats! Some candies can damage braces, but there are plenty of safe and tasty snacks to satisfy young taste buds without interfering with orthodontic treatments. In fact, when preparing fun holiday treats with your child, you can include numerous healthy options that build strong teeth at the same time.

Treats to Avoid:

When supermarket shelves are full of brightly packaged treats for the holidays, it's hard not to fill your cart. But for the sake of your child's braces, you still need to scoot past the hard, chewy and sticky foods. The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) advises that children with braces should avoid caramel, licorice, lollipops, bubblegum, popcorn, taffy, jelly beans and hard pretzels. Those types of food can easily bend or loosen the brace brackets.

Kids can enjoy the holidays without risking their braces by sticking to soft snacks and by paying extra attention to oral hygiene. The AAO suggests chocolate, peanut butter, milkshakes, gelatin-based candies and ice cream are all fun holiday treats that won't damage braces. Brushing twice a day is especially important during the holidays.

For added assurance that the food you serve is safe on braces, consider making your own!

The Colgate Oral Care Center has some great recipe ideas:

Strawberry Santas:

Slice the bottom off the large end of a strawberry so that it stands upright, and cut off the top quarter. Squirt some whipped cream onto the strawberry's top flat surface, and add two chocolate sprinkles to make the eyes of Santa's face. Place the top quarter of the strawberry back onto the whipped cream to form Santa's hat, and dab some cream on the very top of the strawberry to give his hat its white bobble.

Marshmallow Snowmen:

Melt some white chocolate candy coating in the microwave, and push a stiff straw or wooden skewer through three marshmallows for the three parts of the snowman's body. Dip the marshmallows in the candy coating, and before it sets, press chocolate chips into the top marshmallow to make the snowman's eyes. Add a tiny piece of carrot for his nose – but not too big that one crunch can damage a braces bracket.

Reindeer Cheese:

Cut strips of yellow bell pepper to the shape of antlers with a sharp knife, and push them into the wide end of a soft cheese triangle. Use two pieces of olive to make the reindeer's eyes, and half a cherry tomato to make Rudolph's nose.

Christmas Tree Brownie Lollipops:

Not every lollipop needs to be hard or sticky. Cut brownies into triangles, and decorate them with lines of frosting for tinsel and sprinkles for baubles. Push a brightly colored, stiff straw into one edge of the triangle, as far as it will go without poking out the other side. Snip off the end of the straw to form your lollipop stick.

Sometimes it's hard for kids to understand why they have to endure the fuss and bother of wearing braces, and it can be especially difficult during the holiday season when they can't eat the same treats their friends enjoy. By offering your child enticing alternatives, he or she can have just as much fun as everyone else while benefiting from the long-term bonus of beautifully straight, pearly white teeth.

Happy Holidays!!

Choose Your Treats Wisely this Halloween

October 29th, 2019

Five orthodontic-friendly recommendations by the Lakes Region's Orthodontist, Dr. Alan Kennell

October is National Orthodontic Health Month. And each October, thousands of kids have one thing on their mind: Halloween candy!  For orthodontists, the Halloween season is all about helping patients avoid potentially sticky situations.

October is the perfect time of year to learn about orthodontic health and how an orthodontist helps patients achieve beautiful, healthy smiles. Besides, everyone knows that Halloween candy can give any orthodontist a scare!

The Lakes Region and White Mountains orthodontist, Dr. Kennell of Kennell Orthodontics, offers these five timely tips to help protect braces, aligners and other orthodontic “appliances” while protecting teeth from decay.

  1. Let sticky foods RIP. If it’s hard, sticky, chewy or crunchy, stay away! Avoid caramel, taffy, bubblegum, licorice, gummies or any snack that can damage brackets or wires. Also, be sure to say “boo” to hard-shelled peanut candies, nuts or nut-filled candies, taco chips and popcorn (especially unpopped kernels).
  2. Choose “spooktacularly” soft foods. Opt for soft chocolates, peppermint patties, peanut butter cups or other melt-in-your-mouth varieties.
  3. Dare to take extra care. Sweets can cause cavities, which is why brushing and flossing are even more important than ever during the Halloween season. Orthodontic patients should be especially vigilant about brushing and flossing immediately after eating sugary or starchy foods.
  4. Set yourself up for success. Kennell encourages parents to keep acceptable treats on hand to substitute for “off limits” candies for trick-or-treating.
  5. Commit to oral health. Deciding to avoid hard and chewy sweets before the Halloween season increases your rate of success – and reduces the likelihood that you’ll break wires.

“We want kids to have fun on Halloween,” says Dr. Kennell. “And there’s no need to feel left out. Patients are free to enjoy acceptable treats in moderation. The payoff is a healthy, beautiful smile. It’s always worth it in the end!”

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