If you have braces in Wilsonville, Oregon or anywhere in the U.S., welcome to National Orthodontic Health Month!
October makes a great month to spread the news of orthodontic health issues due to the month’s signature event – Halloween.
While more adults than ever are wearing adult braces, the largest percentage of patients wearing braces are also those who most look forward to the bounty of candy they can reap by uttering just three magical words – “trick-or-treat.”
With all of the excitement that comes with free candy, it’s easy to get caught up in a sugar rush and forget that many types of Halloween candy are off limits to patients wearing braces. Even if it does threaten to kill a little of Halloween’s buzz, our staff at Senestaro Family Orthodontics hopes that patients will consider the cavity-causing effect and the potential damage that could occur to their orthodontic appliance from munching on hard, sugary treats this All Hallows’ Eve.
Not a Treat for Your Braces
As your orthodontist, we have more than a little concern over the impact sugar can have on a patients’ braces. It’s especially important that our patients with braces be extra cautious about the types of treats they eat, because some types can easily become stuck in-between your wires and brackets and damage your braces.
Patients should make sure to avoid the following types of candy:
- Candy apples. A definite no-no, as biting into the hard outer shell of this holiday treat can easily break your braces.
- Gummy bears or other sticky treat. Just as they are the rest of the year, gummy bears, Tootsie Rolls and Star Bursts are all on the naughty list (just to mix holiday metaphors). This type of treat can easily become stuck between your teeth and brackets, where they sit providing harmful oral bacteria with plenty of fuel to damage your oral health.
- Snickers, Mars Bars, Three Musketeers, and any other candy bar with a gooey center. Whether from the caramel or from the sugary nougat center, these types of candy bars also leave residual sugar trapped on your braces where it can present a big risk to your long-term oral health.
- Jaw breakers and other hard candies. Another candy in the too hard category, Jaw Breakers, Jolly Ranchers and other types of hard candy also present a risk to the integrity of your orthodontic appliances.
Fortunately, it’s not all bad news when it comes to Halloween candy. Patients can feel free to enjoy soft chocolates and easily chewable items like Hersey bars, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and cookies. Just make sure to take small bites that you can easily fit into your mouth. Break up larger pieces into smaller bites, and always make sure to brush and floss immediately after eating.
Protecting Your Braces
It wouldn’t be National Orthodontic Health Month if we didn’t offer a few tips on how to protect your braces and other orthodontic appliances from decay. If you have braces in Wilsonville, Oregon or anywhere in the U.S., keep the following tips in mind:
- Avoid sticky situations. Make sure to avoid eating crunchy, sticky, hard or chewy candy and snacks in October and every other month. These types of foods include bubblegum, taffy, licorice, gummies and caramels.
- Say no to hard treats. This category includes hard-shelled peanut candies, nuts or nut-filled candies. It’s not just sweets you need to avoid, as popcorn and potato chips also fall into the don’t eat list.
- Stay up with brushing. Sugary snacks cause cavities, which means that flossing and brushing daily are more important than ever during the Halloween season. However, you need to make practicing quality oral hygiene a top priority the rest of the year as well. Failing to adequately brush and floss could lead to permanent staining of your teeth and irreversible damage to your oral health.
- Make a year-long commitment to your oral health. If you make a decision to avoid these types of foods during the rest of the year, it will be far easier for you to avoid temptation during Holiday seasons when these types of sweets become more readily available.