Not only is October the month we celebrate Halloween, but it’s also National Orthodontic Health Month. From taffy to candy apples, this is a scary time of the month for good oral hygiene, especially if you have braces. However, you can still enjoy the holiday by following this guide of candies to avoid and candies you can eat.
Candy to Avoid
Sticky or Chewy Sweets – Candies that are sticky or chewy, such as jelly beans, licorice, taffy, and gummy candy, should be avoided while you’re wearing braces. They get stuck between the braces and crevices of teeth very easily, and they’re hard to clean away. Unfortunately, this can lead to tooth decay.
Caramel Apples – While caramel apples are a great treat in the fall, they also come with a number of downsides when you have braces. The sticky caramel and sprinkling of nuts on the outside can get caught in the braces, and you can damage your braces by biting into a whole apple. However, if you can’t resist this seasonal treat, warm some caramel sauce in the microwave until its consistency thins, and
slice an apple into bite size pieces.
Too Much Sugar – Any Halloween treat that contains a high amount of sugar, including candy corn, cake, and cookies, should be avoided whether you wear braces or not. Sugar is the leading source of tooth decay. When harmful oral bacteria feed on the sugar from the food you eat, it creates acids that destroy tooth enamel and causes cavities.
Bubblegum – The wire on braces is fragile, and chewing bubblegum can bend the wire. When the wire bends, your teeth will move to the position of the bent wire. When your orthodontist checks your braces and sees your teeth aren’t straightening, he or she will have to add more wire and increase the amount of time you have to wear braces.
Soft Chocolate – Soft chocolates, like plain M&M’S, Hershey’s Kisses, and Hershey’s chocolate bars, are safe to enjoy when you’re wearing braces because they don’t have any ingredients that can damage your braces or get stuck between your teeth.
Dark Chocolate – If you can’t pass up chocolate during Halloween, you’re better off reaching for dark chocolate. Dark chocolate contains beneficial anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants and has been shown to lower blood sugar levels and improve cholesterol.
Peanut Butter Cups – Peanut butter cups are a preferable choice if you still want to enjoy a chocolate and peanut butter snack during Halloween. Since both the chocolate and the peanut butter are smooth, you won’t risk damaging your braces, and a good brushing can clean away any food particles left behind.
Candy Bars Without Nuts – While you need to avoid nuts while wearing braces because they can damage the wires, candy bars without nuts, such as 3 Musketeers and Kit Kats, are a better alternative.
As always, it’s a good idea to brush and floss after enjoying any of your Halloween treats. By doing so, you can dislodge any food caught between your teeth and keep your smile looking great.