For many children and adults, October has one of the year’s most anticipated events: Halloween. Trick-or-treaters look forward to donning their costumes and gathering treats, and adults plan to hand out candy or head to parties themselves.
But October isn’t just the spookiest month of the year; it’s also National Orthodontic Month. It’s a perfect time to consider how best to care for and protect orthodontic appliances, including braces and aligners.
Surprisingly, Halloween can be a risky time of year for orthodontic patients, mainly because not all of the treats you may encounter are safe for appliances. To ensure your holiday doesn’t result in an emergency trip to your Plano dentist, here are some tips for handling candies and goodies this Halloween.
Candies and Foods to Avoid
If you want to keep your orthodontic appliances in tip-top shape, then it’s best to avoid sticky treats. Caramel, taffy, bubblegum, jelly beans, and similar goodies can damage braces and permanent retainers. Often, this occurs because the sticky candies get stuck in or around the appliances, giving them the ability to dislodge them.
Similarly, hard treats can be equally damaging. Biting into nuts, tortilla chips, and popcorn can easily damage brackets and wires. Chomping into a whole apple is similarly risky, so it may be best to skip bobbing for apples at any parties.
Just because it’s Halloween, that doesn’t mean you have to give out candy. There are a lot of other fun foods that are safe for braces and orthodontic appliances but can still seem like a treat.
For example, snack packs of crackers, like goldfish, or cookies are an easy alternative. Softer granola bars can substitute for candy bars too. Just make sure, if you plan on handing them out to trick-or-treaters, that everything is prepackaged in individual portions, as hand-crafted snack packs likely won’t be viewed as safe by other parents.
If you simply can’t make it through Halloween without a little candy, consider bite-sized dark chocolate bars or truffles. Often, these are soft enough to not damage orthodontic appliances, but they can still satisfy a sweet tooth. Peanut butter cups, M&M’s and candy bars without nuts or caramel can also be an option, but they tend to be higher in sugar, so it’s important to keep that in mind.
Since Halloween is associated with a lot of sugar, brushing and flossing are incredibly critical. Make sure you thoroughly clean orthodontic appliances after meals and sweet treats, ensuring that your teeth and mouth are cared for properly.
Additionally, if you haven’t seen your Plano dentist in the last six months, now is the perfect time to schedule a cleaning and exam. That way, you can make sure your smile is in the best shape possible before the holiday season.