For most children, October means one thing: Halloween candy. For orthodontists, it’s a month for embracing a beautiful, healthy smile in honor of National Orthodontic Health Month.
The American Association of Orthodontist has offered five timely tips to protect braces, aligners and other orthodontic “appliances” while protecting teeth from decay you can give to your patients.
1. 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.
2. 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, we advise that no one should ever chew ice.
3. 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.
4. Spooktacular news: Not all Halloween candy is off-limits. Good alternatives include soft chocolates, peanut butter cups or other melt-in-your-mouth varieties. The American Association of Orthodontists even offers orthodontic-friendly recipes for Halloween on its website at http://www.mylifemysmile.
5. 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.