How To Have A Happy Thanksgiving That’s Orthodontist-Approved

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, the team here at Sturgill Orthodontics is already planning our plates and dreaming of the dessert table. As exciting as it can be thinking about all the food that’s yet to come, we know that this season can also be frustrating for our braces patients. Straightening your smile comes with a lot of changes, and we understand that food restrictions can be especially frustrating around the holidays. 

While all your hard work will be worth it once your braces come off and we reveal your beautiful new smile, we want you to be able to enjoy life in the meantime, too. That’s why we’ve put together a few hints for keeping your Thanksgiving feast braces-friendly! Keep reading below for a helpful list of orthodontist-approved foods, plus a few tips on keeping your braces clean after you clear your plate. 

A quick note for Invisalign patients

If you’re one of our Invisalign patients, you’re free to enjoy whatever you want from the Thanksgiving table. Just remember to remove your aligner, then brush and floss your teeth before putting it back in.

Now back to our braces patients!

Pile up your plate with these items

When it comes to what you can safely eat while protecting your braces, there are lots of traditional favorites to choose from! Holiday staples like turkey, ham, or chicken get the okay from orthodontists as long you’re not eating any meat directly off the bone. You’re also good to go with side dishes like mashed potatoes, dressing or stuffing, steamed vegetables, and soft rolls. You can even enjoy a taste of sweet potato casserole, just be sure your portion doesn’t have any nuts or marshmallows in it. 

Wondering what desserts you can fill up on after everyone’s left the table? There’s an entire arsenal of sweet treats with your name on them! Creamy classics like pumpkin and sweet potato pie are soft and easy on your teeth, as long as they don’t have a crunchy topping or nuts in the filling. That goes for any cakes or cookies, actually—the key is sticking to recipes that aren’t crunchy, sticky, or likely to damage your brackets or wires. 

How To Have A Happy Thanksgiving That's Orthodontist-Approved

Keep passing the platter when you see these foods

Although there are many good foods you can happily dig into over the holidays, there are still quite a few you need to keep a close eye on. Skip any salad that isn’t heavy on the actual salad, for starters! Hard croutons, nuts, or crunchy crusts can do a number on your brackets and raw fruits and veggies may be too crunchy for comfort. Corn on the cob can also be a problem unless you cut the kernels off and eat it that way.  

As we mentioned above, leave anything chewy, sticky, or crunchy on the dessert table. Things like marshmallows and caramel can easily stick to the components of your braces, while toffee, nuts, and hard toppings can actually bend wires and damage brackets. Stick to sweet stuff that’s smooth and creamy to get the most out of your post-meal trip to the dessert table!

How to maintain good oral health during the hectic holidays

Thanksgiving may look slightly different this year, but some things don’t change. Wherever you have your holiday feast and whatever it looks like, it’s important to continue practicing basic care for your braces by brushing after every meal and flossing every night before bed. Need a refresher on how to keep your braces looking bright? We’ve got you covered! 


  • Use a small amount of fluoride toothpaste and a toothbrush with soft bristles.
  • Brush each bracket and the front, sides, and back of every tooth using a circular motion.
  • Brush gently along the gum line.
  • Don’t forget to brush your tongue, and the roof of your mouth, too! Lots of yucky bacteria like to hang out here, as well as in between your teeth and braces.

A good indicator of careful brushing is braces that look shiny and clean. Inspect your teeth and braces every now and then during the holidays to make sure they’re spotless and don’t have anything stuck in them. This is also a good time to check for any loose or broken brackets!


  • Floss every night before bed, carefully pulling the floss between the wire and the brackets.
  • Floss around the brackets.
  • Gently floss along and under the gum line.
  • Floss around each tooth.

Flossing effectively when you’re wearing braces can take a little extra time and patience, but it’s an important part of your oral care routine so try not to skip it. This is especially important over the holiday season when you may be eating things that aren’t part of your normal diet. If you find the process frustrating, try using a floss threader or water flosser to give you easier access and help speed things up. 

Happy Thanksgiving from Sturgill Orthodontics

There’s a lot to love about Thanksgiving, and this year in particular it’s good to take a moment to appreciate all we have, enjoy a table full of delicious food, and focus on family, friends, and the future!

In the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it can be easy to lose sight of the little things that make the world around us such a beautiful place. Whatever is happening in your life this Thanksgiving, we hope the day is full of good food, lots of laughter, and the kind of memories you’ll love to look back on one day.  

Speaking of gratitude, we don’t want to forget to mention how thankful we are for patients like you! Thanks for supporting Sturgill Orthodontics throughout the year. Have a happy Thanksgiving!