Halloween means candy. For most people, it’s a once-a-year indulgence that doesn’t do any lasting damage. But for orthodontists, what’s scary about Halloween is the possibility of our patients doing serious harm to their braces – not to mention overdoing the sugar.
If you’re a parent of a child with braces who’s still young enough to trick or treat, there are some things you can do on Halloween night to help make sure your child doesn’t damage his or her braces and keeps teeth and gums healthy.
(Older adolescents and adults in braces who like to use Halloween as an excuse to eat candy should also follow the advice below!)
Sort the Candy: Good and Bad Halloween Treats
You already know there’s a list of foods that are not recommended for braces. These are foods that can potentially cause a bracket to pop off or are difficult to clean from brackets and wires. You want to make sure these treats – mostly sticky, chewy, and hard foods – are removed from your child’s Halloween candy haul. No need for your child to worry, though; there will still be plenty of braces-friendly treats left to eat.
Braces-busting treats to remove:
- Caramels and caramel apples
- Gummy bears, gummy worms, etc.
- Tootsie rolls
- Gobstoppers and jawbreakers
- Sour candies
- Nuts and candy with nuts in them
- Chocolate (without nuts)
- Peanut butter cups
- Soft cookies
- Peppermint patties
- Pixi stix
- Apples – not caramel – as long as they’re cut into pieces
Be in Charge of What and When They Eat
You are in charge of what candy your child eats and how much. You may be fine with letting them indulge this one night and let them have all the approved candy, or maybe you want them to pick out only their very favorite treats and toss or give away the rest. You can decide whether they can eat it all in one night or if their candy should be spread out over the next few days. There’s no right or wrong here.
Oversee Brushing After Halloween Candy
Even if it’s been a long time since you’ve had to stand over your child to make sure they actually brush before bed, do it on Halloween night and for as many nights as they’ll be indulging in candy. Time them to make sure they’re brushing for a full two minutes, and make sure they floss, too. This is a good opportunity to talk about proper technique and about the importance of oral hygiene, especially with braces on. Remind them that by taking good care of their teeth with their braces on, they’ll like the results when they come off even more.
Halloween Can Be Fun in Braces
Your child can still have an awesome Halloween with braces on, even if it’s a little different from what they’ve experienced in the past. They’ll still get to enjoy plenty of treats, but best of all, they won’t be compromising their smile to do it.