Braces-Friendly After School Snacks

As the school year starts back up again, parents are faced with a new challenge: finding after-school snacks that will get kids through the afternoon until dinnertime (and be safe for their braces, too). To make your search a bit easier, here are some braces-friendly snack ideas to get you started.

Cheese and apple slices

Cheese is high in the minerals calcium and phosphorus, both of which promote strong tooth enamel. Apple slices are high in fiber, making this snack balanced with protein and fiber. We advise patients to avoid whole apples to protect braces, but cutting up these fresh fruits makes them braces-friendly.

Peanut butter on whole wheat toast

Peanut butter provides protein (go for the smooth variety to make it less likely to get stuck in braces), while whole grains give this snack fiber to satisfy cravings and keep students full between meals.

Cucumber slices, cherry tomatoes, and ranch or Greek yogurt dip

The dip will make the healthy veggies more appealing to younger taste buds, while the bite-sized veggies give this option a satisfying crunch.

Cottage cheese, blueberries, and strawberries

Cottage cheese has a high density of protein, and fruits like berries are sweet, fibrous, and refreshing.

Banana and string cheese

A banana is soft enough to enjoy with braces, and it contains many important nutrients like potassium, magnesium, and Vitamin C. You can make it even easier on new or recently adjusted braces by cutting a whole banana into slices. The string cheese finishes off this balanced snack with protein and calcium, which can help strengthen enamel and provide an added boost of energy.

 Cooked sweet potato cubes with cinnamon

Sweet potatoes are loaded with vitamins and minerals like iron, Vitamin D, and beta carotene. With cinnamon or a different sweet seasoning of your choice, they can be made into a delicious, secretly healthy, and braces-safe treat!

Enjoy Fourth of July Barbecues While Caring for Your Smile

Happy Fourth of July from all of us at Hutta & Hutta Orthodontics! For some people, July 4th is synonymous with parades and concerts, while for others, it is all about the backyard barbecues. It’s been estimated that about 74 million Americans grill out every Fourth of July. No matter what your final destination is for the 4th, for most of us, food will be a highlight along the way.

We’ve compiled a few ways to keep your smile bright and braces safe this barbecue season. Read on for key tips to avoid unnecessary dental treatment down the road.

1.     Avoid hard foods

This includes common barbecue snacks and appetizers like pretzels, potato chips, and hard candies. Pretzels and chips are filled with starch, which tends to get trapped in your teeth. If you choose to indulge in snacks like these, be sure to floss afterward to remove any extra plaque-causing food particles. Hard candy, on the other hand, is full of sugar and can also lead to broken or chipped teeth or broken brackets.

2.     Don’t chew ice

Chances are, you’ve crunched on an ice cube or two on occasion. Unfortunately, this hard-to-resist habit can cause dental damage including cracked and chipped teeth, damage to tooth enamel, problems with existing dental work such as fillings and braces, and sore jaw muscles. The impact of chewing ice can make teeth more prone to cavities and create sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures, so we recommend avoiding this crunchy temptation as much as possible.

3.     Don’t open beer, soda, or water bottles with your teeth

When the bottle opener goes missing, people may resort to some unsafe methods that often involve their teeth. Beer bottle tooth injuries make up a large percentage of barbecue-related dental issues.

4.     Practice grill safety

If you clean your barbecue grill with a wire bristle brush, make sure no bristles get left behind, or they might end up in your food and cause serious problems. Most of the injuries from consuming these small bristles—yes, this does actually happen—are to the throat, tongue, mouth, palate, and teeth. As a result, it’s best to inspect grilled food before serving it or find alternative cleaning methods like nylon bristle brushes, stainless steel grid scrapers, or pumice stones.

5.     Drink plenty of water

One of the best—and easiest—ways to care for your teeth at cookouts is to alternate drinks like beer and soda with water. This will help keep your teeth clean and the pH level in your mouth normal.

No matter how your family chooses to celebrate the Fourth of July, we hope you enjoy it, stay safe, and brush your teeth as soon as you get home!

Cool Off with Braces-Safe Smoothies

Now that summer is here, it’s time to relax and enjoy the outdoors! As temperatures rise, it’s natural to reach for drinks to cool you off. Smoothies are also a great option after starting orthodontic treatment or after a routine visit. For a few days after an adjustment, the tightening of wires may cause some discomfort, so smoothies are a convenient choice for relief.

With these recipes, you can satisfy your craving for something sweet and refreshing without worrying about damaging your braces!

Simple Summer Smoothie by Allrecipes.com

Ingredients:

  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 cup frozen cherries
  • 4 ice cubes
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • ¾ cup vanilla yogurt
  • ½ teaspoon honey (optional)

Directions:

Place the banana, strawberries, blueberries, cherries, and ice cubes into a blender. Pour in the orange juice, vanilla yogurt, and honey. Puree until smooth.

Tropical Blueberry Smoothie by Martha Stewart

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons sugar (optional)
  • 1 cup chopped pineapple
  • 1 ½ cups frozen blueberries
  • 1 orange, cut into quarters, peeled and seeded
  • ½ – ¾ cups water

Directions:

Blend!

Pina-Colada Green Smoothie by Cleanfoodcrush.com

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup fresh pineapple chunks
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup (or more) fresh baby spinach
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • ¼ cup ice cubes, optional
  • 2 teaspoons raw honey, optional

Directions:

Blend!

Chocolate Banana Smoothie by Tasteofhome.com

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cold 2% milk
  • 1 package (1.4 ounces) sugar-free instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 2 large ripe frozen bananas, sliced
  • 2 cups crushed ice cubes

Directions:

Place all ingredients except for the ice in a high-speed blender and puree for 30-45 seconds. Add ice and puree until smooth, about 45 additional seconds.

Head into Spring with Bright, White Smile!

Your smile is one of the first things people notice about you, so you want to make sure to always put your best and brightest smile forward. This spring, keep your smile shining bright with just a few simple tricks and tips.

  • Maintain good oral hygiene. There are a million reasons why keeping up your oral hygiene is extremely important, especially when you have braces, but good hygiene also leads to a more beautiful smile. Always make sure you brush your teeth twice a day, and don’t skip out on flossing! Braces can make it difficult to clean your teeth and gums that are in between brackets and wires, so at your next appointment make sure we show you the most effective ways to get at these hard to reach spots.
  • Skip that extra cup of coffee or glass of red wine. Coffee, tea, red wine, and soda can all stain your teeth. In order to keep your pearly whites pearly and white, cut back on consumption of these beverages.
  • Use a straw when consuming the above beverages. Sipping through a straw allows you to consume your favorite drinks without the liquid touching your teeth. This way you can enjoy any beverage without worrying it will stain your teeth. They even make straws that are specially designed for the consumption of hot beverages.
  • Quit smoking. Besides taking an enormous toll on your health and causing severe problems like gingivitis and lung cancer, smoking cigarettes can stain your teeth brown. The more you smoke, the harder it is to remove these stains. Simply brushing is often not enough to get rid of the discoloration, so if you have stains from smoking you should consult one of our physicians on the best options to remove tobacco stains.
  • Try teeth-whitening toothpaste. Ask Dr. Hutta for his suggestions on toothpaste that thoroughly cleans your teeth and helps prevent stains and discoloration.

Whether you have just had a teeth-whitening procedure and want to maintain your results or you want to keep your gorgeous smile beautiful, these tips will help brighten your smile. The best part of working to keep your teeth white is that you will also be protecting them at the same time!

Braces-Friendly Winter Smoothie Recipe

Once you’ve had a smoothie, you’ve had them all, right? That’s what we thought until we came across Rodale’s Organic Life seasonal smoothie recipes.

This month, we’re featuring their winter smoothie because it’s braces-friendly and a sure way to get your kiddo to eat breakfast. Notice that many of these ingredients are not braces-friendly in their pre-smoothie state. That’s what we love about this recipe—your growing teen is still going to benefit from these nutrient-dense foods even with their orthodontic appliances!

Let us know what you think. If you like this one, we’ll be sure to feature the others as the year goes along.

Rodale’s Organic Life Winter Smoothie

¼ cup carrot juice*
½ cup orange juice
1 cup spinach
1 cup roughly chopped kale, ribs removed
4 small broccoli florets, sliced and frozen
1 banana, peeled, sliced, and frozen
1 apple, cored and roughly chopped

Combine ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Makes 3 cups. For more protein, consider adding a tablespoon or two of ground flaxseed or ground hemp seeds. (Make sure they’re ground to keep those little seeds out of the braces!)

*Cook the carrots before blending them for their juice, unless you have a high-powered blender (800 watts or higher).

Stay warm and healthy this winter!

Holiday Movies Guaranteed to Make You Smile

We tend to smile more around the holidays. The family gathers, delicious food finds its way to the table, and holiday movies grace our televisions. Get yourself under a warm blanket, light a fire and show off those braces as you bask in the glow of holiday movie goodness. If you’d like some suggestions, here’s our personal favorites guaranteed to make you smile.

  • Elf (2003). It’s almost impossible not to smile at Buddy the Elf. Warm, good natured humor . . . it’s perfect for adults and the kiddos.
  • White Christmas (1954). A certain member of our staff makes a ritual of watching this movie every year. The story is campy and predictable, but the songs are oh-so-memorable.
  • A Christmas Story (1983). There’s a reason they play this movie on a 24-hour loop. No matter how many times we see it, the smiles just keep coming!
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993). This is one of the rare movies that people like to watch during the Christmas and Halloween seasons. With fantastic music and a heartwarming story, it’s certainly a different take on the traditional holiday movie.
  • Miracle on 34th Street (1947). You know it’s a good holiday flick when even the hardheaded adults start to believe in Christmas magic.
  • It’s a Wonderful Life (1946). This movie is always a helpful reminder about how one life can affect so many people.
  • Christmas Vacation (1989). Sure, it’s completely unrealistic, and that’s what Christmas movies are all about! Clark’s misery brings us laughter, and that’s the best holiday medicine.

From our staff to your family . . . HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Best & Worst Candies for Halloween

With Halloween quickly approaching, we want to remind you to be cautious when choosing candy and treats! We strongly encourage you to stay away from sticky sweets because it could damage your braces, and we would hate to see you return from Halloween with missing brackets and wires. To ensure that your braces stay on and intact for the shortest time possible, we recommend avoiding:

  1. Gum
  2. Taffy
  3. Hard candy (jaw breakers, Jolly Ranchers)
  4. Sticky candy (caramels, Sugar Daddies, Starbursts, caramel apples, Tootsie Rolls)
  5. Popcorn
  6. Nuts

Hard and sticky candies can take a huge toll on your braces because of the additional force to the brackets and bands, as well as your teeth. If there is too much pressure, the bracket is at risk of breaking off. But don’t worry! There are still plenty of candies and Halloween treats you can enjoy. Here are our top 10 recommendations:

  1. Soft chocolates like Hershey’s Kisses, Reese’s Cups, and Hershey’s Bars
  2. Pudding or Jell-O
  3. Ice cream
  4. Cake
  5. Doughnuts
  6. Cookies
  7. Pie
  8. Cereal
  9. Cotton Candy
  10. Candy Corn

We highly advise you to brush your teeth after enjoying Halloween treats. This allows your braces and teeth to stay healthy and clean and will keep you on the right track toward completing your smile journey! Brushing your teeth also helps to clear away lingering sugars that create cavities. Once your braces are removed, you will be left with a beautiful smile to last a lifetime. So giving up sticky and hard candies for the holiday will be well worth it in the end!

Valentine’s Day Braces-Friendly Recipe

Flowers, hearts, and most-importantly, chocolate-filled, days are right around the corner with Valentine’s Day coming up. Trying to find sweet treats that are compatible with braces isn’t always easy, but below is a recipe for a Valentine’s Day “braces-friendly” cupcake recipe.

Ingredients:

Cake:

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Frosting: 

  • 1/2 cup frozen whole strawberries, thawed
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, firm and slightly cold
  • Pinch coarse salt
  • 3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions Cake: Mix all ingredients together until well-blended. Put in cupcake cups and bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees F.

Frosting: Place the strawberries in the bowl of a small food processor; process them until pureed. Beat together butter and salt on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce mixer speed and slowly add confectioners’ sugar; beat until well combined. Add vanilla and 3 tablespoons strawberry puree, mix until just blended. Frosting consistency should be dense and creamy, like ice cream. For an extra treat, garnish with a chocolate-covered strawberry on top!

Braces-Friendly Thanksgiving Dessert Ideas

Did someone say sugar? Take a break from the turkey and the gravy this Thanksgiving, and dive into one of our favorite, orthodontist-approved sweets that the entire family will love!

No Bake Cheesecake

What goes inside?

  • 2 packages of graham crackers
  • 11 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • two 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 ¼ cup sweetened condensed milk
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Now what?

  1. Crust
  • Crush graham crackers into fine crumbs
  • Pour crumbs into bowl and add sugar
  • Add butter and stir well to combine
  • Press crumb mixture into a 9-inch pan and press flat
  • Chill crust for 10 minutes
  1. Filling
  • Beat cream cheese until smooth
  • Slowly add condensed milk
  • Beat in the lemon juice and vanilla
  • Pour filling into crust and smooth top
  • Refrigerate for 3 hours

Thoughtful Notes!

This sugary delight settles the craving after a nice holiday meal, but keep in mind that the sugar may stick to braces and influence the growth of cavities. So let’s be proactive and brush our tongue and teeth after these satisfying treats. A very happy and safe holiday to you and yours!

Fun Fall Braces-Friendly Recipe

We’ll miss summer, but the season of warm blankets, crisp air, and snuggly nights is upon us! Check out this awesome recipe that will keep you warm and toasty during chilly mornings! The best part about this meal? It’s braces-friendly and orthodontist-approved:

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal (Serves 1)
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ banana, mashed
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • Additional ¼ cup milk
  • Pumpkin seeds (optional)

What to do:

  1. In a small pot, stir the oats, water, and almond milk together and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes until creamy.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mash the banana and stir in the pumpkin purée and maple syrup along with the pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon and sea salt.
  3. Turn off the heat and stir the pumpkin mixture into the oats with the optional chia seeds. Mix until well combined.

 Tip: Add extra almond milk at the end to make it a little creamier!