October is National Orthodontic Health Month. And each October, thousands of kids have one thing on their mind: Halloween candy! For orthodontists, the Halloween season is all about helping patients avoid potentially sticky situations. October is the perfect time of year to learn about orthodontic health and how an orthodontist helps patients achieve beautiful, healthy smiles. Besides, everyone knows that Halloween candy can give any orthodontist a scare!
Orthodontic Associates, with offices in Oklahoma City and Edmond, offers these five timely tips to help protect braces, aligners and other orthodontic “appliances” while protecting teeth from decay.
- Let sticky foods RIP. If it’s hard, sticky, chewy or crunchy, stay away! Avoid caramel, taffy, bubblegum, licorice, gummies or any snack that can damage brackets or wires. Also, be sure to say “boo” to hard-shelled peanut candies, nuts or nut-filled candies, taco chips and popcorn (especially unpopped kernels).
- Choose “spooktacularly” soft foods. Opt for soft chocolates, peppermint patties, peanut butter cups or other melt-in-your-mouth varieties.
- Dare to take extra care. Sweets can cause cavities, which is why brushing and flossing are even more important than ever during the Halloween season. Orthodontic patients should be especially vigilant about brushing and flossing immediately after eating sugary or starchy foods.
- Set yourself up for success. Orthodontic Associates encourages parents to keep acceptable treats on hand to substitute for “off limits” candies for trick-or-treating. Parents can also find free, Halloween-themed recipes such as Quirky Quesadillas for Halloween, Delightfully Devilish Deviled Eggs, Mummy Pizza Biscuits, Spooky Spider Web Bean dip and others, on the American Association of Orthodontists’ website at https://www.mylifemysmile.org/recipes recipes.
- Commit 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 wires.
“We want kids to have fun on Halloween,” says Dr. Sparks. “And there’s no need to feel left out. Patients are free to enjoy acceptable treats in moderation. The payoff is a healthy, beautiful smile. It’s always worth it in the end!”