Halloween and Sugar for Orthodontic Patients
We all love enjoying our favourite candy from time to time, especially around Halloween and Bonfire night. It can be hard to say no to so many sugary treats, especially when they’re so easily accessible at this time of year. But those treats can get tricky for orthodontic patients because many of the treats are harmful to braces. So how can you safely enjoy your spooky night of fun and sweets? Just follow the guidelines of what to aim for and what to avoid in the trick-or-treat bowls.
*Moderation is the primary goal. Treats are called treats for a reason. They should not be consumed on a daily basis.
*Treats that are not sticky or quickly leave the mouth (i.e., chocolates) are more tooth-friendly.
*Treats that are sticky (i.e., caramels, fruit snacks) are more likely to stay attached to the teeth and provide fuel to the harmful bacteria in your mouth.
*Non-candy options like stickers, pencils and small trinkets like temporary tattoos are great alternatives
Braces-Friendly Halloween Treats
The good news is that chocolate is safe! Any type of soft chocolate is fine to eat with braces. But soft is the keyword there. Hard or large pieces of chocolate could still pose a danger to orthodontic braces, and you should avoid chocolate with hard pieces of toffee embedded in it. Dark chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa (70%+) has much lower sugar content compared to milk and white chocolate varieties. If chocolate is the treat of choice, steer towards dark chocolate which contains antioxidants that can stop bacteria from sticking to teeth, helping to fight gum infections and tooth decay.
Cookies and brownies are another safe option for braces-wearers. Again, softness is key. If someone gives you a hard cookie, give it a good long soak in cold milk before biting into it.
Hard candies are okay, but there’s a catch: no chewing allowed. If you have the patience to be able to suck on it until it dissolves, a hard candy is safe. However, just because they’re safe for braces doesn’t make them great for your teeth, so we still recommend sticking to the other options.
No matter how much you love them, there are some treats and candies that are definitely off-limits if you have braces. Anything hard, gummy, chewy, or sticky can put brackets and wires at risk. That means no taffy, gummies, caramels, toffee, popcorn, jelly beans and absolutely no gum. Any of these can pop or pull a bracket right off a tooth. It’s also important to avoid candies like M&Ms or Skittles because their small size makes it easy for them to get into the wrong place and pop a bracket loose.
Don’t Forget To Clean Your Teeth!
The most important thing to remember after your night of fun and tasty treats is to take care of your teeth and your braces, because many of the treats that are safe to eat can still lead to tooth decay without proper attention to dental hygiene. So make sure to brush and floss away all traces of that sugar. And please remember to brush for a full 3 minutes!!