Halloween starts off the busy holiday season where the nights get longer, the days grow cooler, and festivities begin. If you are wearing braces, Halloween may be a little tricky for you this year. Resist temptation by only keeping treats that are safe for you to eat and letting yourself enjoy them, guilt-free!
Holidays aside, it is important to remember that sugar is bad for your teeth in general. Oral bacteria feed on sugars and starches and then release enamel-eroding acids. With braces, grazing on sugar can lead to cavities and decalcification, harming tooth enamel and affecting the state of your teeth (or your child is in braces) when the hardware finally does come off.
Oral Health Tip: Whenever you or your child eat sugary treats, rinse and brush those teeth thoroughly around the brackets and gum line, cleaning every single tooth. Clearing away plaque and acids helps avoid cavities!
If you or your children are currently undergoing orthodontics, we recommend the following braces-friendly treats to keep smiles safe this Halloween season:
Satisfyingly Safe Treats
- Ice cream without hard-to-chew chunks or nuts
- Chocolate milkshakes and pumpkin-flavored smoothies
- Soft chocolate like peanut butter cups, Kit Kats, Reese’s Pieces, 3 Musketeers, Oreos, Hershey Bars or Kisses, plain M&M’s, and peppermint patties
- Gelatin without nuts or hard fruit chunks
- Blondies and brownies
- Soft, chewy cookies without nuts
- Sliced apples with a thin, diluted caramel sauce (it can’t be super sticky or it will pull on your braces hardware)
- Soft candies or candies that you know you will suck on (never bite!) until they dissolve
Avoid These Tricky Treats Like the Plague
Snacking on this bracket and wire-damaging sweets can mess with your braces hardware before you know it:
- Candy apples, because biting into a regular apple can harm your braces, so any apple should be sliced or cut into small chunks. If the caramel coating is thick, it will double your risk of braces damage!
- Hard or sticky candies like Skittles, jelly beans, gummy candies, licorice, taffy, caramel, nutty M&M’s, and gumballs or bubble gum.
- Hard candies like Tootsie rolls or pops, Starburst fruit chews, or Jolly Ranchers. These can also damage teeth and yank off the cement out of your braces bands.
- Sour candies like Warheads and Sour Patch Kids have acidic levels that can wear down tooth enamel, increasing the potential for cavity development.
- Any kind of brittle; they are hard by nature and sticky to boot!
- Regular or sweet popcorn as the popcorn shells get stuck in the gums and can lead to pain or infection.
Horrifyingly Hard on Braces
The reason hard and sticky candies are so bad for your braces is that people typically bite down on them. That is when the scary stuff happens, like breaking off a bracket or bending a wire and having it poke your soft oral tissues. Do not let your treats damage your braces, at least if you want to avoid having to come in and see us more than usual. Remember, every time a bracket or band needs replacing or repairing, it sets the orthodontic process back a step.
What happens when you do have a problem with your braces hardware? Be sure to call our orthodontic office right away, so we can take care of it as soon as possible and get you back on track. We hope you safely enjoy the upcoming holiday season, starting with Halloween!