Thanksgiving with Braces: Your Guide to Holiday Survival

In spite of what you may be seeing in stores right now, it’s November (seriously, Walmart? Et tu, Target?) Here at Dudley Smiles, we love this time of year. An entire month to focus on the things we’re grateful for? Tables creaking under the weight of a Thanksgiving feast? Family, football, and fall foliage?

dudley smiles issaquah braces kent invisalign thanksgiving dinner

Did we mention the food?

We know one of the things you’re thankful for this year is the start of your journey towards a beautiful straight smile, courtesy of snazzy new braces by Dudley Smiles.

But what does that mean for you when it comes to your favorite Thanksgiving dishes?

We’re here with a few tips to help you still enjoy this holiday to its fullest!

Main dishes

Let’s start with the good news! Meat and stuffing are both safe for braces, so bring on the platters of turkey and ham. Just be sure you never eat directly off the bone, and cut your meat into small pieces.


Many families have holiday casseroles they make and devour every year. My grandma made a sweet potato casserole that would knock your socks off! Fortunately, most casseroles are on the safe-for-braces list. Follow the basic rules of avoiding anything sticky, hard, or chewy. That would mean making my grandma’s casserole without marshmallows lining the top. But you know what? It’s just as delicious without them!


Okay, I’ll admit it. Salads don’t really have a starring role on our Thanksgiving table. But lots of families love to have a big bowl of crunchy greens to serve with dinner! A little crunch is fine, but you’ll want to skip the croutons, and also steer clear of nuts and any crunchy chunks of fruits and vegetables (like apples and carrots.)

Side dishes

Rejoice! For the most part, you’re in the clear to enjoy all the traditional favorites like mashed potatoes, green beans, steamed veggies, rolls, and cornbread muffins.

You can still eat the corn, but toss the cob. Either opt for dishes that only use kernels, or cut the soft kernels off with a knife.

Fresh cranberries are fine, but cranberry sauce and dried cranberries can stick to your teeth and braces and cause trouble, so you’re better off giving those items a pass this year.

dudley smiles issaquah braces kent invisalign thanksgiving


I know this is the one you’ve been waiting for. Thanksgiving is about thankfulness – and PIE. As a general rule, you know that you should avoid sweets when you have braces. However, a little Thanksgiving indulgence is 100% acceptable! We’re not monsters, after all.

So go right ahead and enjoy some pumpkin, sweet potato, or chocolate mousse pie. If your dessert has crunchy parts like nuts or a crumble topping, just remove that part of the pie. (You could also avoid the dish altogether, but we know there’s no fun in that.)

Unfortunately, pecan pie is out, so don’t let that gooey, nutty concoction tempt you. Your braces and brackets will thank you for it!


It seems like there are snacks sitting out everywhere during the holidays! There are several you can help yourself to, but avoid the usual suspects. Popcorn, caramel, caramel or candy apples, chips, crispy baked potatoes, and nuts are nothing you want anywhere near your braces.

Recipes you can sink your teeth into

Now that we’ve talked about what is and isn’t appropriate for you and your braces this feasting season, we’re sharing a couple of our favorite Thanksgiving dishes, because we’re thankful for you.

Although this isn’t exactly the same recipe as the one my grandma used – that’s a safely guarded secret! – it’s close.

Sweet Potato Casserole

  • 2 large sweet potatoes, baked until very tender, peeled and mashed (about 3-4 cups)
    (these take about 60 minutes at 350F.)
  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 Tbsp. ½ and ½ cream
  • Salt to taste
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup flour
  • ⅓ cup butter
Mashed soft baked sweet potatoes with the butter, cream and salt. Place them in 3-4 ramekins or one larger dish. Mix the brown sugar, flour and butter together until crumbly, then sprinkle evenly on top of sweet potato mixture. Bake at 350F for 20 min. or until the edges are bubbling and the topping lightly browned. Serve immediately.

Corn Casserole

This is a side dish, but it’s honestly good enough that it could go on the dessert table and no one would complain.
  • 1 8.5 ounce package cornbread mix
  • 1 cup sour cream (or 1 cup non-fat Greek yogurt)
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 15 ounce can creamed style corn
  • 1 15 ounce can corn (drained)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • ⅛ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 2½ quart baking dish or an 8×8 or 9×9 baking pan.
  2. In a bowl mix together sour cream, corn, creamed corn, melted butter and eggs. Add cornbread mix, salt and pepper and stir.
  3. Pour into greased baking dish and bake for 45-60 minutes until sides are golden and the middle doesn’t wiggle when you shake it.


Dudley Smiles is thankful for you

All holiday food talk aside, this really is the season to reflect on what we’re grateful for in our lives. Our team is thankful for the opportunity to help build the confidence and self-esteem of our Issaquah and Kent patients through orthodontic treatment. By providing braces and Invisalign for teens in the Issaquah and Kent areas, we’re able to create bright, beautiful smiles! And remember, if you have any questions or concerns, we’re available to you anytime.



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