The first week of November often proves to be one of the busiest weeks of the year for emergencies in the orthodontist’s office due to broken brackets and wires from patients biting into the treasure of candy they collected for Halloween. Much of the candy that we associate with Halloween is hard, crunchy, or sticky, which are the three adjectives of food to avoid while having braces. Candy like caramel, taffy (Now and Laters), candy bars with nuts, and anything that requires extra force to break are the main culprits. Instead of those common offenders, I would recommend softer options like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Kit Kats, plain M&Ms, 3 Musketeers, and plain Hershey bars. And, of course, please don’t forget to brush and floss after enjoying a sugary treat so that your teeth and gums stay healthy.
As far as candy alternatives, I’ve heard great ideas such as giving out glow sticks, certificates for Junior Frostys at Wendys, Clementine oranges with jack o’ lantern faces, and temporary tattoos. My kids would love to receive any of those and it keeps the fun in Halloween. Candy isn’t inherently evil. It just needs to be enjoyed responsibly.
Eating candy, like anything with sugar, will lead to cavities and gum disease without proper oral hygiene. If not corrected or treated, gum disease will lead to bone loss and to an eventual loss of teeth. Research continues to prove an overall correlation with oral health and overall health, so maintaining healthy teeth and gums are of utmost importance.
– Dr. T