Trick or treat! It’s that time of year again, and not only is it Halloween, but it’s also Orthodontic Health Month! This October, we’re exploring the do’s and don’ts of the spookiest season of the year and how you can keep your appliances safe, effective, and clean. So keep reading to get the scoop on Orthodontic Health Month and eating sweet treats with braces – the Saddle Creek Orthodontics team has all the tips and tricks you need to stay happy and healthy.
To Eat or Not to Eat
When you’re in orthodontic treatment, there are two main players involved in straightening your smile: you and your orthodontist. Dr. Kyle and Dr. John are here to take care of the treatment planning and adjustments, but it’s up to you to care for your braces between appointments.
A big part of the learning curve is figuring out which foods are good to eat and which ones to avoid – which can be especially challenging during the Halloween season. But don’t worry – you can still eat lots of candy.
Treats That Play Tricks
Although there are plenty of favorite candies you can still eat with braces, not all treats are sweet. Here’s a guide for what to avoid in your Halloween basket.
Twizzlers are a top choice for many trick-or-treaters, but it’s a good idea to hold off on any licorice-type treats or chewy candies until you’re done with treatment. These foods are harder to chew, and they could harm your brackets and wires in the long run, which could mean longer treatment times – and no Twizzler is worth the price of your smile!
Just like chewy foods, sticky foods can grab hold of the smaller parts of your appliances and break them away while you chew. To be safe, you should avoid gum, caramel, or taffy and opt for a more braces-friendly option instead.
Lots of people like to pass out popcorn or popcorn balls during Halloween, but crunchy foods can be an issue for people wearing braces. Try softer foods like mini marshmallows instead.
It can be hard to avoid things like peppermints during the Halloween season, but it’s best for your appliances to stay away from any hard candies. Biting down on these foods can put too much pressure on your brackets and wires and could cause them to bend or even break off completely.
& Anything You Bite Directly Into
Before you go bobbing for apples, you may want to take a raincheck this year. Biting directly into foods can put pressure on your brackets, which could weaken the bonding glue that holds them to your teeth or break them off entirely. Instead, break these foods into bite-sized pieces to make them more manageable.
Treats You Can Eat
Now for the best part – here’s what you can eat this Halloween! And trust us, there’s a lot on this list.
Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate – it’s your best friend this year! Most chocolates like Hershey’s Kisses or Three Musketeers are soft enough to eat with ease – just make sure to avoid any that contain nuts!
Who doesn’t love a Reese’s peanut butter cup? Be sure to save up your caramels and taffies to trade with your siblings because smooth foods like peanut butter or mint patties are a great choice for braces-wearers.
Usually, when we think of Halloween, we think of candy. But there are lots of great baked goods that open a whole new world of options for your holiday! Instead of a Twizzler or Tootsie Roll, try a cookie or cupcake this year instead! Bonus points if it’s decorated for the season.
Caring for Your Oral Hygiene
After all that candy, it’s time to think about your oral hygiene. Orthodontic Health Month is all about spreading awareness for how to care for your appliances, so here are a few tips for keeping your teeth clean even after a sugar rush.
Brush Well & Brush Often
Even though you’ve been brushing your teeth since you were little, brushing with braces takes a little extra time and effort. Be sure to use fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush, and with a 45-degree angle, brush all sides of your teeth and appliance to remove any plaque or debris that could get lodged in your braces. Cleaning off all of this sugar will prevent cavities and keep your teeth healthy throughout treatment, so brush at least twice a day!
Rinse Between Snacks
If you can’t get to a toothbrush after you’ve eaten a bucketload of Halloween candy, rinsing your mouth with water will do the trick until you can really clean your teeth. Swishing with water can help dislodge any leftover food particles and clear away the sugar residue from your teeth, keeping them shiny and clean even during Halloween.
Floss, Floss, Floss
Everyone knows they should floss, but that doesn’t mean everyone does. However, when you’ve got braces, it’s super important to adopt the habit and learn to floss the right way. Dr. Kyle and Dr. John recommend using a floss threader to pull the floss between your teeth and around your wires. This will help you get rid of any plaque that can be hard to reach with your toothbrush alone.
Happy Halloween from Saddle Creek Orthodontics!
Whether you’re spreading awareness about Orthodontic Health Month or just here to get your hands on some candy this Halloween, our Collierville and Germantown teams are here to help you navigate this busy month and protect your teeth at the same time. And no matter what time of year it is, creating your dream smile is our #1 priority. Schedule your free consultation to get started with treatment today!