Chef and author Michael Chiarello is renowned for his culinary creations. Inspired by his young daughter who recently began orthodontic treatment, Chiarello has teamed up with the AAO to create several braces-friendly recipes.

"When my daughter got braces, I knew I had to modify some of our favorite meals," Chiarello said. "Not only are these dishes braces-friendly, they are fun to make with the whole family." Chiarello’s creations include Pasta Pomodorini, a savory pasta dish made with fresh cherry tomatoes; and Apple Bomboloni, a pastry filled with warm sweetened apples.

"Michael’s recipes illustrate that with a little awareness and creativity in the kitchen, meals can still be delicious and safe for individuals with braces," said Raymond George, Sr, DMD, president of the AAO.

To help parents and patients, the AAO provides braces-friendly recipes by Chiarello on its Web site.

Here’s a sample recipe:

Pasta Pomodorini (Serves 4)


¾ pound spaghetti
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
¼ cup sliced garlic
½ teaspoon finely minced Calabrian chilies, or
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 pint small cherry tomatoes, stems removed, crushed between your thumb and forefinger
Sea salt, preferably gray salt
½ cup fresh basil leaves, each torn into 2 or 3 pieces
Wedge of Parmesan cheese


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta.

While the pasta cooks, heat the ¼ cup olive oil in a large skillet over moderate heat. Add the garlic and cook until the slivers are golden brown and crisp, then add the chilies and cook for about 30 seconds. Raise the heat to high and add the tomatoes. Simmer briskly to soften the tomatoes and thicken the juices, about 3 minutes. Season with salt.

When the pasta is al dente, scoop out about ½ cup of the pasta cooking water, then drain the pasta. Return the pasta to the warm pot off the heat. Add the sauce and the basil and mix well. Add some of the reserved cooking water if the pasta seems dry. Transfer to a warmed serving bowl and grate Parmesan over the top to taste. Drizzle with a little more olive oil. Serve immediately.