When it comes to Halloween candy and braces, the news is more trick than treat. The sugars in candy are harmful to the teeth and hard, sticky, or chewy candy is terrible for the brackets and wires. So, sadly, Halloween candy during modern orthodontic treatment is not something we like to encourage as a rule.
However, we are also realists. We know that Halloween is a big deal here in Long Beach and the surrounding areas, so we understand that exceptions can be made in this case.
So, with the caveat that we don’t encourage eating candy with your braces, here are some things you should bear in mind during the Halloween festivities and the weeks following:
- Brush and floss regularly, and especially right after eating candy. The goal is to get the sugar off your teeth as soon as you possibly can. Once the sugar breaks down into the acids that can harm the hard tissues of the teeth, it’s a countdown to decay. The shorter the time it is there, the better for your teeth.
- If you can’t brush immediately, swish with water. For those of you that have clear aligners, you might consider chewing sugar-free gum for a few minutes before replacing the trays.
- Drink lots of water, and, if you can, fluoridated water. The ADA recommends drinking fluoridated water to help prevent decay.[i] To see a list of bottled water brands that contain fluoride, please click here.
- Eat it around meals. Having your candy around meals has many benefits. First, your saliva production is up, so it helps wash away the sugar acids in foods. Second, if you have sugar at a specific time instead of throughout the day, it limits the amount of exposure your teeth have to the sugary acids that can harm your teeth. WebMD suggests having a treat time where sugar is okay to teach yourself or someone you love that sweets aren’t something you eat anytime. Plus, it makes it easier to make better choices for the rest of the day when you know “treat time” is on the horizon.
- Remember that all candy is not created equal for braces. If you have braces on your teeth with brackets and archwires, you should follow the rules for foods that are good for them. In other words, stay away from hard, sticky, or chewy foods. Also, please skip the candy apples, as well as the popcorn balls. (Caramel apples will work—even though we are not big fans of the caramel—as long as you cut them up before you eat them.)
- Avoid sticky and sour candy. When it comes to candy to skip, we also emphasize the importance of skipping the sticky and sour candy category. These types of candy are difficult to get off of teeth even when you don’t have braces. Moreover, the sour candies have even more acid than regular sweet candies do, which wreaks havoc on the enamel of your teeth. As the ADA says, “Be picky if it’s sticky.”[ii]
- Hard candy requires discipline. We say no to hard candy most of the time. However, the California Association of Orthodontists (CAO) suggests that if you want a hard candy, have one; just be disciplined. What that means is you must keep it in your mouth as it dissolves and do not bite it.[iii] Before you put one in your mouth next to all that modern orthodontic treatment we have in there to improve your smile, ask yourself if you have the discipline not to bite.
- Take advantage of baked goods. Sugar is not good for your teeth in any form. However, baked goods are at least a little easier on your teeth. If you have the option to grab a cookie instead of taffy, we say take it. Also, as the CAO says, if the cookie is more crunchy, dunk it in milk before you eat it to soften it up.
- Use your restrictions to your advantage with your friends. Some of this advice is terrible news, and for that, we apologize. However, if you look at it from another viewpoint, you can trade all the candy you shouldn’t eat for candy that you can. When everyone is swapping treats at the end of the night, find someone who loves all the candy you can’t eat and start trading.
- Remember, there is always chocolate. And honestly, that’s not too bad an option.
We know that accidents happen. If you happen to break a bracket or have problems with a bent or broken wire, call us and we’ll get you on the schedule for a repair. In the meantime, for a broken bracket, use a pair of tweezers (that you clean with alcohol) to slide the bracket along the wire to a more comfortable position, and rotate it so it’s facing the right way. Also, use dental wax to protect your mouth from the loose bracket. If you break a wire or it is bent, use nail clippers to cut off the end so it won’t poke the inside of your mouth.
Braces and candy are not a dynamic duo. You won’t see their names in lights together on a marquee. If it weren’t Halloween, we probably wouldn’t put them together for this article—unless it was to say, avoid candy while you are in braces. However, even with your modern orthodontic treatment, we say enjoy your candy and have a Happy Halloween.
And don’t forget to brush and floss!
To schedule your free consultation today, call Bloom Orthodontics office in Long Beach at 562-421-8883.
Bloom Orthodontics in Long Beach has a long history of improving our patients’ smiles. We provide modern orthodontic treatments delivered with old fashioned excellence in patient experience. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram.
“12 Tips for a Healthy Halloween.” Mouthhealthy.org. Web. 22 October 2019. https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/h/halloween-tips.
“Halloween Candy: Your Dental Health Survival Guide.” Mouthhealthy.org. Web. 22 October 2019. https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/h/halloween-candy-survival-guide.
Doheny, Kathleen. “Oral Health Challenge:5 Tricks for Dealing with Halloween Treats.” www.webmd.com. 22 October 2019. https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/features/5-tricks-for-dealing-with-halloween-treats#1.
[i] “12 Tips for a Healthy Halloween.” Mouthhealthy.org. Web. 22 October 2019. https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/h/halloween-tips.
[ii] “Halloween Candy: Your Dental Health Survival Guide.” Mouthhealthy.org. Web. 22 October 2019. https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/h/halloween-candy-survival-guide.