For most children, October means one thing: Halloween candy. However, we all know that Halloween treats tend to play tricks on teeth and orthodontic appliances!
Following are five tips to protect braces, aligners and other orthodontic appliances while protecting teeth from decay.
- Avoid sticky situations with your braces and aligners. Stay away from hard, sticky, crunchy or chewy candy and snacks. These include caramel, gummies, licorice, taffy, bubblegum (even the sugarless kind), jelly beans and soft drinks.
- Say “boo” to hard treats including hard-shelled peanut candies, nuts or nut-filled candies, taco chips and popcorn (especially unpopped kernels). And whether in orthodontic treatment or not, no one should ever chew ice!
- Brush up! Sweets can cause cavities, which means brushing and flossing are more important than ever during the Halloween season. Orthodontic patients should be especially vigilant about brushing and flossing after consuming sugary or starchy foods.
- Spooktacular news: Not all Halloween candy is off-limits. Good alternatives include soft chocolates, peanut butter cups or other melt-in-your-mouth varieties.
- Make a commitment to oral health. Deciding to avoid hard and chewy sweets before the Halloween season increases your rate of success – and reduces the likelihood that you’ll break braces.
It’s okay for orthodontic patients to enjoy some treats at Halloween; everyone should have fun on Halloween! At the same time, we encourage patients to enjoy acceptable treats in moderation, and take that extra couple of minutes to brush and floss. When orthodontic treatment is complete, and patients see their healthy and beautiful new smiles in the mirror, they will know all of their efforts were worthwhile.
Dr. Mary Ellen Dobbs has had an orthodontic practice in Knoxville since 2012. She graduated from University of Tennessee dental school and completed an additional three-year, advanced educational program in orthodontics at the University of Illinois. She is also one of the few orthodontists in the area who is certified by the American Board of Orthodontics. Dr. Dobbs sees patients Tuesdays – Fridays at her office in Bearden (1516 Coleman Road, Suite 208). More information on Dr. Dobbs and her practice can be found on the practice website dobbsortho.com.