Have a Happy Halloween — with Braces!
Do you have a costume picked out already? Have you made plans with your friends for parties and trick-or-treating? Halloween is always a super-fun time of year. But when you have braces, it can be a little more complicated.
Because what is Halloween without lots of candy and all of the other sweet treats that mark the holiday?
At Denise DiBona, DDS, we love being able to transform young people’s teeth with orthodontics. But we understand that while you are probably eagerly anticipating the unveiling of your gorgeous, newly straight smile, you may be a bit sad about having to forgo some of your favorite sweets this Halloween season.
And you may not be entirely sure about what confections are okay and which are not. Read on for our guide to braces-unfriendly and -friendly treats.
Have questions or due for a checkup? Call Denise DiBona, DDS of Red Bank, NJ at 732-945-5343 for all of your dental needs.
Treats to Avoid
Some of these treats are not great for anyone to eat, braces or not, due to their tendency to get stuck in the teeth and promote tooth decay. But they are especially dangerous for people with braces, as they can get trapped in the wires and brackets and even break them!
Anything chewy, sticky, or gooey should be avoided. Think gummy bears, Swedish fish, licorice, caramels, taffy, candy corn, jelly beans, candy apples, and gum. Not only can they damage your expensive braces, but they get stuck in between the wires and brackets and can be difficult to remove. And the longer your teeth are exposed to sugar, the more likely they are to experience decay.
Popcorn balls are a fun Halloween tradition. But combine their sticky sweetness with popcorn’s ability to lodge itself in teeth and in braces, and you have a recipe for tooth decay. They also may damage the brackets and wires. In fact, any sort of popcorn should be avoided while braces are on your teeth.
Lollipops and hard candy should be relegated to the “do not eat” pile, sadly. Chewing on them, of course, can lead to breakage of your braces or teeth. But these sweets are bad news even if you suck on them. They will coat your mouth in dissolved sugar, which leads to a proliferation of bacteria and acids that wear down tooth enamel.
You’ll have to pass up chocolate bars (or any treats) containing nuts while wearing your braces. While nuts are normally a wonderful, healthful snack, their hard texture makes them treacherous to your brackets and wires.
You may be wondering what to do with all of that loot. If you don’t want it all to go to waste, see if your mom or dad want to bring it into their office as a pick-me-up for their colleagues. There are also organizations that accept donations of candy.
So, What Sweets Can I Eat?
Don’t worry — there are lots of treats you can still enjoy while wearing braces.
As a general rule, chocolate is one of the less-damaging sweet indulgences for your teeth — including if you have braces! You’ll have to avoid any chocolate products that contain nuts or chewy elements, of course, but you can eat plain chocolate bars, chocolate candies like plain M&Ms, and chocolate-coated peanut butter cups (just make sure your peanut butter cups are the smooth, not chunky, kind).
You can also enjoy soft cookies and cupcakes, so if you are providing sweets for a party, consider bringing something like that rather than candy.
A Few More Tips . . .
When you eat your Halloween treats, pair them with plenty of water. Drinking water effectively washes out your mouth. So it’s a good way to rid your teeth and gums of bacteria and food particles in between brushing sessions. You may even want to bring a bottle of water with you for trick-or-treating. A reusable bottle filled with tap is best, as tap contains fluoride.
Eat a good meal before you head out for trick-or-treating. If you are not hungry, you will not overindulge or be tempted to eat an off-limits confection.
Don’t be tempted to skip over your usual oral hygiene routine because it’s late, you’re excited from the evening’s activities, or for any reason. After your last piece of Halloween candy of the night, be sure to brush and floss thoroughly to keep cavities and gum disease at bay.