Every October, we begin to plan our costumes, bring out our decorations, and – since we are orthodontists – brace ourselves for the complications that come along with Halloween.

Each year, we find that Halloween candies combined with braces can become a bit of a nightmare. While there are limitations with metal braces, there are also so many ways to enjoy the holiday without compromising oral healthcare.

Not only is Halloween in October, but it is also National Orthodontic Health Month! To commemorate these two important celebrations, we have created a guide for better orthodontic health during this spooky time of year.

Beware: Candies And Foods To Avoid

While most of our patients know to avoid sticky, crunchy, and chewy foods, there are some foods and candies that come around this time of year that also need to be avoided:

  • Hard candies, including jawbreakers, Nerds, Lemon Heads, etc.
  • Sticky candies, including caramels, Milk Duds, gum, etc.
  • Chewy candies, including Laffy Taffy, Starburst, Tootsie Rolls, etc.
  • Foods such as popcorn, nuts, candy apples, etc.

When in doubt, ask your orthodontist! Your friends at Craig & Streight are always willing to offer advice and help you make good decisions for your or your child’s oral health.

Sweet Surprises

While candy is a common way to celebrate this time of year, there are also plenty of alternatives to enjoy! Trick-or-treating doesn’t have to be the only option for Halloween with your kids.

Here are some ideas for enjoying the season, without the harmful effects of candy and sugar:

  • Haunted houses
  • Corn mazes
  • Hayrides
  • Trunk or treats (where you can try to be more selective about the candy your child takes)
  • Apple picking
  • Pumpkin patches and pumpkin carving
  • Collecting Fall leaves
  • Making fun Halloween costumes together

If trick-or-treating is part of your family tradition, you can still have fun! There are several candies that are still okay for kids:

  • Smooth chocolates, such as Dove, Hershey’s, Ghiradelli, etc.
  • Chocolate candies, such as Reese’s Cups, M&Ms, Three Muskateers, Peppermint Patties, etc.
  • Seasonal favorites like candy corn

We recommend going through your child’s candy and scooping up anything that might be harmful for their braces. You can replace these candies with some of the suggested candies above; also, you can always hold onto these candies and reward your child with the candy once their braces come off!

Creeping Cavities

As always, remember to encourage your child to brush and floss regularly. Sometimes, it can be difficult to keep teeth clean with braces, but it is especially important during Halloween when a higher level of sugar is consumed.

Here are a few tricks to keeping teeth clean and cavity-free during Halloween:

  • For easy flossing, ask us about a floss threader. This tool can help get around braces and between teeth for maximum cleaning.
  • Brush twice per day, both above the bracket (along the gumline) and below the bracket for best tooth care.
  • Mouthwash can be helpful, as the liquid form can get around the brackets easily. Swish mouthwash around for a quick cleaning fix and for fresh breath!

Dressing Up Your Smile

Another perk of metal braces that our patients enjoy is adding color elastic bands to brackets.

Here are some of our favorite ways to celebrate the season with our braces:

  • Black and orange for Halloween
  • Colors to match your Halloween costume
  • Colors to match your favorite football team

When your child comes in with his or her new colored bands, we can help remind your child how important it is to maintain good oral health! Regular appointments allow us to prevent any issues, while also reinforcing good habits for your child. We are here to help!

October Is For Orthodontists!

Celebrate Halloween (and, of course, Orthodontic Health Month) with Craig & Streight! We are here to answer any questions you have during this spooky, sugar-filled time of year.

With three Oklahoma City-area locations, we work with your busy schedule to find a time and place that is right for you. Contact us today to see how we can help you and your child with the care and maintenance of their metal braces.