Halloween is one of the most exciting times of year for little ghouls and goblins eagerly looking to enjoy the spoils from their night of trick or treating. However, the hard and sticky candies that many household hand out on Halloween can be problematic for kids who wear braces. Does that mean patients of your orthodontist in Ogden must skip out on this year’s fun?
While Dr. Carr recommends that all kids enjoy Halloween candy in moderation – giving away or participating in a candy buyback program whatever is left over the next day – even kids that wear braces can enjoy in some holiday treats if they take the right precautions. To keep the smiles of all our patients looking their best, here are a few tips to consider when the candy comes spilling out of this year’s trick or treat bag.
Tip 1.) Always brush immediately after eating any candy. As parents know all too well, those bite-sized candy bars and other sweet treats are loaded with sugar, one of the primary causes of tooth decay. For kids with braces, it’s especially important to remove excess sugar from their teeth, braces, and gums. If the harmful oral bacteria in kids’ mouths are allowed to breakdown sugar, it can lead to tooth decay and gum disease, while also impacting the effectiveness of their orthodontic treatment. If a toothbrush isn’t always handy after eating candy, have your kids thoroughly rinse out their mouths with plain water, and then have them brush immediately after getting home.
Tip 2.) Be careful about breaking your braces. Unless a child wears Invisalign aligners, their braces are bonded directly to the surface of their teeth and can be damaged if that bond becomes broken. That said, it’s important that kids avoid eating hard candies, candies with nuts, or candies that need to be bitten into. Eating these types of candies can easily break, bend, or alter the delicate brackets and wires of your child’s braces.
Tip 3.) Avoid sticky candies. Just as eating hard candies and with candies with nuts present a risk to their braces, kids can also damage their orthodontic appliance and oral health by eating sticky candies, like caramels, Starburst, Tootsie Rolls, and Skittles. These types of candies stick to kids’ teeth as they chew, creating tension on the braces that could potentially loosen the wires so they no longer provide the needed tension. Sticky candies can also become lodged between brackets and wires, thereby increasing the risk of dental decay and disease.
Tip 4.) Encourage kids to exchange candies. It can be difficult for kids to hear they can’t enjoy all of different types of candies they collect while trick or treating. You can make this less difficult by encouraging kids to exchange candies they can’t enjoy for those that are okay to eat. Soft chocolates like Hershey’s Kisses and Peanut Butter Cups are ideal for kids who regularly visit an orthodontist in Ogden. Having kids with braces exchange their taffy and Skittles for these kind of treats can make everyone happy.
Tip 5.) Practice good dental habits all year. By encouraging your kids to practice good dental habits like avoiding hard and sticky foods and brushing and flossing after each meal, it makes it easier for them to practice these same habits when tempted by holiday treats. It’s much easier for kids to continue practicing the same habits than it is to try and adopt new ones.