Got Adult Braces? Metal Mouth Media Offers 7 Tender-Teeth Tips to Avoid Holiday Eating Disasters

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For the one-million-plus adults in braces, today's orthodontic hardware is smaller, lighter and tougher than in years past, but can still present eating challenges. The experts at Metal Mouth Media, home of The Braces Cookbooks, offer these great tips for navigating holiday parties with a sparkling silver smile.

Adult braces-wearers can still enjoy holiday parties while their smile is 'under construction.'

Glitz and glitter add pizzaz to party wear, but what if some of that sparkle comes from new metallic braces? Adults who've joined the orthodontic crowd form a growing trend, yet may really wonder what they should eat and what they should avoid. The experts at Metal Mouth Media, home of The Braces Cookbooks, have just the right tips to help this group enjoy the season with a smile.

One out of four orthodontic patients is now over 18; remember when Cameron Diaz and Gwen Stefani joined this crowd? Even though clear aligners are popular, many adults still opt for the modern version of wire-and-bracket braces. Though much smaller than in years past, they can still pose a challenge for adults navigating the business and social worlds.

Pamela Waterman, author of The Braces Cookbook 2: Comfort Food with a Gourmet Touch, says, "Adult braces-wearers can still enjoy holiday parties while their smile is 'under construction.' Choosing appetizers and sweets that are smooth and creamy will avoid problems created by sticky, chewy or overly crunchy snacks." Coauthor Chef Amee Hoge, creator of the book's gourmet touches, adds, "You can't go wrong with thin slices such as cucumbers in yogurt dip or apple slices in a thinned-down caramel sauce."

Here are seven tips that will help ensure a carefree silver smile at any festivity:

  •     Eat cooked vegetables instead of raw ones and go for the cauliflower: it’s softer than broccoli and won’t show up as much on braces if a tidbit goes astray.
  •     Try potato chips and pita bread as less crunchy alternatives to tortilla chips and hard crackers. Better yet, if you’re in charge, serve miniature bread slices from the deli instead, and offer canapé knives for spreading dips, pâtés, hummus and finely diced chicken salad.
  •              In general, think "white" when you choose a food - it's okay for once to skip the healthier greens.
  •     Take extra-small bites, and nibble food from the side of your mouth. Strong molars can usually handle tougher work, and your front teeth will still gleam.
  •     If you’re contributing baked goods, include a slice of fresh bread along with them in a tightly lidded container – the moisture will transfer to cookies and bars, softening them up; this even works a bit on store-baked goods.
  •     Drink or eat something very cold, such as a fruit smoothie or frozen yogurt, especially if you’ve had an adjustment that day. The cold delays the movement of today’s heat-responsive metal arch wires and offers justifiable comfort.
  •     Carry a tiny spiral self-covered brush (for example, the Easy Brush from DenTek) in a pocket or purse. This item is a lifesaver for freeing stuck bits from between brackets during a quick trip to the restroom. Your orthodontist should offer you one; buy more at drugstores or get one as part of the clever Braces Survival Kit offered by DentaKit.com. Like that famous credit-card ad once advised, don’t leave home without it!

Pamela Waterman is a veteran of both teen- and adult-braces and has been a spokesperson for the American Association of Orthodontists. She is an engineer, technical writer, and author of four books. As president of Metal Mouth Media, an imprint of The Discovery Box Publishing in Mesa AZ, she comments regularly about a braces-friendly lifestyle on Twitter (@BracesFriendly) and her blog, Silver Smile Survival.

Chef Amee Hoge is a culinary instructor, food stylist and food photographer in Phoenix, AZ. A graduate of NYC's French Culinary Institute, she helps people "play with food" through group classes, special scouting events, and private, in-home instruction, stepping up to the challenge of making flavorful recipes for everyone's special needs.

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Pamela Waterman

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