Dental Care Orthodontics

Naughty vs. Nice: The Ultimate Food Lists For Your Braces

Dr. Stuart Duchon
Written by Dr. Stuart Duchon

With Thanksgiving already here and Christmas fast approaching, the holiday season is really getting underway. It’s an exciting time of year because there’s so much to look forward to including time off from school and work, family gatherings, gift giving and receiving, decorations, and let’s not forget the food! The holiday season comes with fabulous foods that you probably won’t get to indulge in for the rest of the year. Unfortunately, a lot of these delicious, mouth-watering dishes pose a real problem to individuals with braces. To help, I’ve created two lists to guide individuals with braces safely through any holiday feast.

The Naughty List

If you have braces beware of the foods I’ve placed on the naughty list this year. Indulging in these foods could result in damage to your braces, including loose bands, broken wires or detached brackets. Damage can be costly, painful and prolong treatment time.

Here are some of the foods to avoid this holiday season:

Caramel Candy

Candy Canes

Hard Breads

Peanut Brittle

Pecan Pie

Popcorn (Kernels)

Cranberries and Cranberry Sauce – may stain clear ties.

Snack Mix – typically contains nuts and hard pretzels which should be avoided.

Vegetable Trays – raw, hard vegetables like carrots need to be cut up.

Hard Cookies – go for soft cookies or soak hard cookies in milk. Watch out for nuts!

In general, you should limit your intake of foods and beverages (such as soda) that contain high amounts of sugar. Sugar is eaten by the bacteria that live in the mouth; in turn, the bacteria excrete acids which lead to tooth decay and cavities.

The Nice List

This holiday season; try to pick foods that I’ve placed on the nice list whenever possible. Play it safe! I’m sure no one wants to be spending the day after Thanksgiving at the orthodontist’s office.

Here are some foods to enjoy this holiday season:



Cooked Vegetables

Soft Breads


Mashed Potatoes

Deviled Eggs

Pumpkin Pie

Sweet Potato Pie

Chocolate Pie

Not on the list? 

Enjoy your holiday season! Spend this time with your friends, family and colleagues – not your orthodontist! The best way to do this, if you wear braces, is to follow the naughty and nice lists I’ve created. If you see a dish on your dining room table that isn’t on my list, ask yourself these two questions:

  • Is it sticky and/or chewy?
  • Is it hard – if I bite into it, will it crunch?

If the answer is yes to either of the above questions then avoid that food! Move on to other, friendlier dishes. I know this means giving up some of your favorite foods but in the long run, it’ll be worth it because you’re going to have a beautiful smile this holiday!

For additional questions regarding braces or to learn more on Hudec Dental’s Orthodontic Services contact us at 216-661-8888.

About the author

Dr. Stuart Duchon

Dr. Stuart Duchon