How to Survive Thanksgiving with Braces

Orthodontist Dr. Britt Vinson offers helpful advice for Thanksgiving dinner with braces in Wake Forest and Clayton NCIf you’re a fan of food like we are (and really, who isn’t?), then Thanksgiving just might be one of your favorite holidays. Not only do you get to spend time with the ones you love, but you can also eat all the foods you might not get to eat as often.

So how do you enjoy the same joys of Thanksgiving while wearing your braces? To help you navigate the serving tables at your Thanksgiving gatherings this year, we at Vinson Orthodontics have a few tips for getting through all three courses.

Starters & Appetizers

Typically, while you’re waiting for guests to arrive or dinner to start, appetizers are brought out to keep you satisfied until the entrees were ready. While many common appetizers may not be good to consume with braces on, there are still quite a few options still open to you. To make it even easier, we’ve created two short lists to follow:

  • Appetizer Do’s: cheese chunks or slices, salami or pepperoni slices, soft dips with bread, meatballs or cocktail weenies in sauce.
  • Appetizer Don’ts: crunchy raw vegetables, chips, popcorn and nuts.

Main Entrees

The best part about the main dishes of Thanksgiving is that many of the foods in this course are edible even with braces. More times than not these foods are soft, not hard or sticky. So what can you let your taste buds savor? Fill your plate with these:

  • Turkey or Ham: Both of these foods are perfectly safe to eat with braces. However, be sure to cut the meat into small pieces and do not eat them of the bone.
  • Stuffing: Stuffing is typically soft – making it perfect for consuming with braces. Depending on the recipe, some people like to include walnuts or pecans. Be sure to ask what’s inside before getting your serving and don’t take from the edges as they may be crunchy from the oven.
  • Vegetables: Cooked veggies are always a great, healthy option for any meal. On Thanksgiving, you might find sweet potato casserole (without nuts), corn (not on the cob) or maybe mashed potatoes and gravy. The good thing is as long they’re cooked, you’re in the clear.


This is where it gets a little tricky. While dessert may be the best part of just about any Thanksgiving dinner, Dr. Britt Vinson wants to remind you of your options. If you love pumpkin pie, eat away. If you prefer pecan, you may have to sit this one out. Most pies that include cream or fruit are fine, but avoid cookies that are crunchy or contain nuts.

As with every meal, we strongly recommend brushing and flossing your teeth after eating. Pack your oral hygiene kit with you to remove any food debris that may be left between your wires and on your teeth. From our family at Vinson Orthodontics to yours, Happy Thanksgiving!