It’s OCTOBER! For most or all of us, this month begins with the weather changing, drinking pumpkin spice latte’s, and of course, Halloween! But for your orthodontist, it’s also a month to recognize their patient’s beautiful, healthy smile in honor of National Orthodontic Health Month. This is a perfect time to review a few helpful tips from the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) to embrace October worry-free for orthodontic patients.
Can I still eat Halloween candy?
YES! Enjoying candy while wearing braces is still an option. BUT, avoid damaging your braces and risk extending your orthodontic treatment by staying away from certain candy items. Broken brackets will require a trip to the orthodontist to repair and multiple broken brackets can extend your time in braces
Keep it simple, avoid sticky items:
- Caramels, Taffy, Jellybeans, Bubblegum
- Hard Candy, Suckers, Licorice
- Popcorn and Nuts
Keep in mind, you are not off the hook if you are drinking sugary drinks like soda, sweet tea, energy, and sports drinks. These drinks have added sugar, which causes decalcification (white marks) on teeth. Read more about decalcification here.
You are probably wondering what you can eat or drink? Actually, quite a lot; eat soft, melt-in-your-mouth candies. Those tend to be less risky when keeping your braces intact.
- Chocolate (without caramel or nuts)
- Peanut butter cups
- Soft Cookies
Eating Halloween candy in excess can cause more than a bad stomach ache. Any type of sugary snacks can accumulate around braces and lead to cavities or gum disease (gingivitis). Establish an oral care regimen that involves preventive measures, it can help avoid tooth decay and promote healthier gums.
Checklist for success: Brush for two minutes, two times a day with fluoride toothpaste with the seal of approval from the American Dental Association. Fluoride helps to strengthen the enamel and decrease cavities..
- Switch to an electric toothbrush, which has been shown to remove more plaque than manual toothbrushes.
- Floss at least once a day to remove plaque and debris that brushing alone can leave behind.
- Rinse with a mouthwash containing fluoride to strengthen the enamel and decrease the bacteria in the mouth.
And finally, remember to trust an AAO orthodontist. An orthodontist is an expert in orthodontics; they possess the skills, education and experience to give you your best smile.