Braces, a combination of metal, wires, and rubber-bands, are often the most traditional method of straightening and improving the appearance of one’s teeth. Braces require proper care outside the orthodontist’s office, and this is especially true when eating. Whether you’re into Trick-or-Treating or not, most people will say that indulging in candy is one of the highlights of Halloween. Sweet or salty, chocolate or something else, everyone has their favorites that they’ll eat throughout the season (and perhaps even year-round). But when it comes to candy consumption with braces, the choices will most likely be different, and possibly limited (especially if wearing them for the first time). Here are some common questions that most first-timers have, along with tips to avoid sticky situations.
What Kinds of Halloween Candy Are Safe for Braces?
While information on the internet is easy to access and can be helpful, your first (and best) point of contact should always be your orthodontist. They’re more knowledgeable regarding the specifics of your dental situation, and can clarify anything that you’re unsure about. Most likely they’ll tell you to avoid anything that’s chewy, hard, or sticky. More specifically, when it comes to wires and brackets, avoid:
- Jolly Ranchers
- Anything with nuts or caramel
Solid chocolate should be consumed in smaller bites, and candy such as M&M’s should be given a little time to melt before attempting to chew and swallow. When possible, try to use your back teeth as well.
If you’re experiencing any pain while attempting to consume a specific candy, it’s best to spit it out and throw it away. It could not only cause damage to braces, but also damage to your teeth. If you’re not entirely sure, set that candy aside for later until you can get clarification. If it turns out that it’s not a safe bet, keep the candy from going to waste by giving it to someone who can eat it.
What Can I Eat Instead of Halloween Candy?
If a favorite treat happens to fall on the do-not-eat list, know that there are other options to get into the Halloween spirit and still have a great time! Peanut butter cups, peppermint patties, pixie sticks, and three musketeers bars are equally as chewable and delicious. Another option is to avoid candy all together and go with cupcakes, soft cookies, jello and apple cider. What’s more is that these make a great spread for a Halloween party, if there’s a preference for staying in one place rather than going from house to house. If you need ideas for fun recipes, Pinterest or Google will never steer you wrong!
Even if traditional desserts aren’t an option (due to allergies or a mere disliking of what’s being offered), please know that fixing your teeth doesn’t last forever, and braces will eventually be taken off.
How Do I Properly Care For My Teeth After Eating Halloween Candy?
A good brushing with fluoride toothpaste goes a long way, and some extra time over the two minute recommendation might be more than helpful. Additionally, using an electric toothbrush is the best option for cleaning between the brackets, but ultimately anything labeled “orthodontic brush” will do. When it comes to flossing, typically orthodontists will give their patients floss threaders to substitute real floss with braces, but if you struggle with handling those, or just want a deeper clean, water piks are an alternative worth trying. The goal is to make sure that none of the candy consumed gets stuck in the brackets, and remove as much bad bacteria as possible. Don’t forget to top off your routine with an extra rinse of mouthwash, and you’re good to go for the evening.
Try to brush as soon as possible after you’re done eating. If brushing doesn’t happen until later in the evening, rinsing out your mouth with a cup of water should be fine.
If bracket breakage occurs, or if you still feel the candy stuck in the wiring after brushing and flossing, call your orthodontist as soon as possible and make an appointment immediately. They’ll know how to address the situation at hand, and do so in a way that is safe and hygienic.
What If I Damage My Braces After Eating Candy?
Whether you have braces yourself or know people that do, please know that mistakes happen and that there is nothing to be ashamed of! Orthodontists are trained to expect and prepare for these situations, and the sooner you bring it up, the sooner you can address the situation without it turning into a larger problem in the long run.
It’s entirely possible to have traditional Halloween fun, even with your teeth having some limitations. And to reiterate, braces don’t last forever; the better you care for them while they’re on, the better your teeth will look and feel when they come off!
If caring for braces sounds complex, Invisalign is another form of orthodontic treatment worth considering. Over the years Invisalign retainers have gained popularity (especially among teens) because of the lower costs, fewer consultations, and as the name suggests, they’re not as visible in photos (usually a confidence booster for anyone, regardless of age). You can also take them out when you eat, so there’s no need to worry about rules or obstacles in regards to food. Determining the best course of treatment is done on a case by case basis, depending on the needs and concerns of the individual.
Want to learn more or book a consultation? Visit us online at Orthodontics of Carson.