Halloween is this week (Friday to be exact)! Who doesn’t love the chance to dress up as crazy as you can imagine, throw all your healthy-eating habits out the window, and scare up some fun with your friends and family?
While a break from the norm is quite welcome, throwing caution aside to chewy, crunchy, or gooey Halloween treats can wreak havoc on your braces and your smile.
My family loves candy as much as the next, and so we have celebrated the past 4 Halloweens by attending a Trunk or Treat event at our church. After a quick trip around the parking lot, you end up with a pumpkin pail full of all sorts of sugary goodies. Anna and I then spend the next week or two “sneaking” a piece or two, hoping Charlie doesn’t notice. We have also developed a reputation for dressing up in coordinating family costumes (check our Facebook page on Thursday to see what we’ve worn the past few years). This year we decided to pay tribute to Robin Williams. He truly was a great, and one of a handful of actors who who has impacted all living generations. He will be missed! See if you can figure out all 5 Robin Williams characters in the picture below:
Back on the topic of Halloween candy, for kids with braces, we recommend avoiding hard, sticky, or chewy candies like caramel, candy with nuts, taffy, and suckers. We instead recommend braces-friendly candy like soft chocolate, peanut butter cups, sliced apples, and ice cream. Foods that are excessively hard, sticky, or chewy can cause the braces and wires to come loose, causing discomfort and slowing down treatment.
If possible, try and limit your kids’ candy intake per night. I remember consuming the entire contents of a ghost-shaped candy basket one Halloween when I was 10 (photo not available). This wasn’t very good for my teeth or my stomach! According to KidsHealth, a Nemours Foundation organization, 44% of children say they get more than 100 pieces of candy on Halloween, and 25% say that it takes them a week or less to eat all of it. Now that’s scary!
Each parent will need to decide what works best for their children, but we suggest allowing kids and teenagers to eat a certain percentage of their candy on Halloween night (10 to 20%). Then, limit the remaining candy at 1 to 5 pieces of candy a day until it is gone. You can also choose to donate your remaining candy to a homeless shelter, soup kitchen, or hospital. It is also very important that kids always remember to brush and floss well after eating candy!
The American Association of Orthodontists has released Halloween-specific guidelines (click to download) with ideas on what types of snacks are braces-friendly, as well as foods to avoid. Following these guidelines will allow you to enjoy your holiday while keeping your orthodontic treatment on pace.
- DON’T overdue it: No one wants to be sick from too much candy!
- DO enjoy your favorite treats: Halloween’s your chance to indulge your sweet tooth guilt-free.
- DON’T gravitate to sticky, unknown, or off-limit treats: As tempting as they may be, remember to play it safe!
- DO brush and floss after candy overload: Braces or not, cavities are no fun.
- Above all, DO smile! Having confidence in your smile and a fun attitude will make your Halloween memorable (in a good way)!
Of course, if after Halloween you come across a problem with your braces, we encourage you to call our office to get things fixed as soon as possible. Ignoring a problem until your next appointment may cause delays in your treatment. For more information, please visit our Caring for Braces page. Also, leave us a comment below and let us know what you’re going to be this Halloween! The more creative the better!