As popular as Halloween is, ironically October is also National Orthodontic health month. In the spirit of the sweet and spooky holiday, Dr Olcay suggests being careful with braces and Halloween treats.All those sweet, sour, and sticky candies may taste great, but these treats are known to damage teeth, as well as break braces, as well as delay precious treatment time!
Hard, chewy candies, caramels, taffy, nutty goodies, jelly beans, licorice, bubble gum, suckers, and sour candies are some of the foods that can cause havoc for trick-or-treaters who are undergoing orthodontic treatment. Sour and fruity candies, such as Starburst and Skittles, are the worst for your child’s teeth since these candies have a low pH value, which can wear down the enamel that protects them. This can cause tooth decay and cavities!
So, what are the alternatives?
Candy such as dark chocolate, or anything that contains the sugar substitute xylitol is not as harmful for your teeth as hard, chewy, or sticky sweets. Experts at the American Association of Orthodontists recommend softer treats or melt-in-your-mouth foods. These include: soft chocolate, peanut butter cups, gelatin treats, ice cream and smoothies. I also encourage them to brush and floss between teeth immediately afterward, including around brackets and at the gum line. Also limiting number of snacking is important. Each time teeth come in contact with sweets acid production starts. So, one is better off eating all at once and brushing right after instead of nibbling the same amount over a long period.
If you’re still looking for other braces-friendly alternatives, we recommend cutting up easy-to-eat fruits and vegetables such as an apple or banana. You would also be surprised how much eating a banana or sipping on a glass of water helps you curb snack cravings!
Dr. Sezer Olcay
723 North Beers Street, Suite 2A, Holmdel