You’re going on holiday. Great. For a week or two — maybe longer — you can let down your hair down and forget about the everyday stresses of daily life. If you wear dental braces, though, be prepared. After all, we’d hate for a twisted wire or broken bracket to spoil your fun.
If you’re planning a significant time away, get a braces ‘warrant of fitness.’ It won’t take long, and your orthodontist will be able to check that everything is in place, so you can have peace of mind.
What to pack
To ensure your braces are well maintained, put together a holiday hygiene kit. Here’s a list of what to include:
- a travel toothbrush
- dental floss (we recommend Superfloss, as it makes flossing easy and is available at most pharmacies)
- orthodontic wax (this prevents any protruding wire from causing discomfort)
- elastic bands
- a bottle of mouth rinse
- a mirror to enable you to inspect your braces.
To eat or not to eat?
While on holiday we often try foods we might not normally eat. However, please avoid foods that are hard, chewy or sticky. We suggest that patients with braces brush two to three times a day. However, the chances are that your teeth will be exposed to more enamel-eating sugar than usual, so try to brush more often.
Anyway, on the subject of food, here are some definite no-no’s:
- corn on the cob
- boiled sweets
- nuts such as peanuts, almonds and cashews
- hard bread rolls
- hard biscuits (or dunk them in your coffee or Milo first)
Some foods you can eat
Of course, there is a myriad of foods you can eat. Here are some:
- Fruit— cut whole fruits, like apples and pears, into wedges before you eat them. Fruit like bananas, oranges, grapes and berries are generally safe to eat.
- Dairy products — cheese and yogurt are nice, safe options.
- Sandwiches — try with avocado sprinkled with salt and pepper.
- Walnuts — although most nuts will do your braces no favours, walnuts are softer and are usually okay to eat.
- Desserts — custard, ice cream and chocolate.
Read more about braces-friendly snacks.
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Braces change the way you eat and certain snacks are better suited to eating when in braces than others. Foods to avoid include raw vegetables like carrots or celery and raw fruit like apples or pears; sweets like chewing gum, and caramels or hard lollies. All of these can damage your new set of braces. However, you still have plenty of choices for fun and healthy foods that will not harm your braces.
Fruit is an excellent healthy snack. You just need to avoid biting into hard fruits such as whole apples. You can still eat them if they are cut into smaller pieces or if you choose a softer variety. Citrus fruits are soft to chew and high in vitamin C and calcium. Other soft fruits that won’t cause damage are: bananas, berries, grapes, kiwi fruit and melons. Dairy and whole grain products offer a whole other range of options. Yogurt and cheese go well between meals. A good-old-fashioned peanut butter and jam sandwich or slices of avocado with a bit of sea salt and black pepper on soft toast are all good snack options that don’t require too much chewing.
Custards, yoghurt and ice creams provide a sweet and safe snack while you are wearing braces. Just avoid products with nuts! Chocolate and biscuits are ok as long as they aren’t too hard – biscuits dunked in hot Milo or tea are easy on your braces and delicious! It’s still wise to avoid any chewy lollies, sugarless or not, which can stick to and damage the wiring.
Crunchy or salty snacks
Not all crunchy foods are bad; you just need to limit the crunch. Walnuts are a softer nut that can normally be eaten safely. Small crackers or potato chips satisfy the need for crunchy and salty. You can also allow pieces to dissolve slightly in your mouth before chewing, to reduce any risk.
Soft muesli bars are also an option. Check the ingredients to ensure they contain no large nut pieces, and brush your teeth afterwards. Otherwise pieces can become stuck in your braces and become very annoying.
What are your favorite snacks while wearing braces? Please let us know by leaving a comment below!