While children, teens, and adults prepare for the arrival of Halloween, dentists and orthodontists from around the country are celebrating another event. October is National Orthodontic Health Month, a time where we focus on tips that can help those receiving orthodontic treatments to maintain healthy teeth and gums.
With Halloween just around the corner, here are some timely tips for protecting aligners, braces, and other orthodontic appliances during this treat-filled season.
Don’t Get into a Sticky Situation
Sticky candies can spell trouble for braces. Sweets like caramel, jelly beans, gummies, taffy, licorice, and bubblegum can get wrapped around brackets and wires, increasing the odds that particles will stay stuck against teeth or that removing any stuck candy will cause damage.
Since these treats can stick to tooth surfaces, aligner-wearers should also be careful. If you enjoy some candy and then put your aligner back on, you trap the sugary residue against your teeth, which can increase the rate of tooth decay.
Watch Out for Hard Treats
Certain crunchy foods can also cause damage to braces. Nuts (including candies with nuts), tortilla chips, candied apples, and popcorn can damage or dislodge brackets and wires, and could make an emergency orthodontic appointment necessary.
Similarly, braces wearers may need to forgo the classic Halloween activity of bobbing for apples. Biting into an apple whole can also damage your brackets and wires, so it’s best avoided.
Choose the Right Alternatives
Just because you wear braces or aligners doesn’t mean you have to avoid sweets altogether. Some candies are safer than others, allowing you to enjoy a treat without risking damage to your orthodontic appliances.
If you simply must have a little candy, reach for peanut butter cups, soft chocolates, or other sweets that melt in our mouth. That way, your small indulgence won’t result in an emergency trip to see your Dallas dentist.
Make Oral Health Care a Priority
With so many sweet treats available, avoiding sugar can be harder around Halloween. This makes brushing and flossing particularly important as it is your first line of defense against tooth decay.
Those who wear braces or use aligners should be especially diligent. Since sugary and starchy foods can be trapped by brackets, wires, and aligners, brushing and flossing after every meal or snack is a must.
Also, if you haven’t visited your Dallas dentist in the last six months, consider making an appointment today. You can have a thorough cleaning and exam, ensuring that your teeth and gums are in the best shape possible.