If you currently have braces or you had them in the past, you know the feeling of biting into a gooey Laffy Taffy or caramel-filled candy that leaves your brackets and wires coated with a sticky, sugary mess.
You spend the next few minutes cleaning around your brackets with a tired tongue. It can be pretty exhausting! Halloween isn’t for quitters.
For the trick-or-treaters who are excited to take on the challenge, we’ve got some tips to help you survive Halloween without a cavity or a broken braces bracket! Let’s dive into the Halloween candy that is certified braces-friendly, and the ones that aren’t so braces-friendly.
Worst Candy for Braces
Let’s get the bad news out of the way… These are the candies you should try your best to avoid with braces:
- Hard candies: Biting into a jawbreaker, Jolly Rancher, Runt or Life Saver could land you right in our exam chair with a broken bracket or loose wire. Not only can some hard candies damage your braces, but they can also damage your teeth! Be extra careful with hard Halloween candy and avoid it as much as possible.
- Sticky candies: Those sticky candies that require some serious chewing – you know the ones – should be donated to your friends’ bags this Halloween. A Laffy Taffy, Starburst, Now & Later or caramel-filled candy can stick to your brackets and wires, get lodged between your teeth and braces, or pull a wire loose while you’re chewing.
- Nuts: Snickers, peanut M&M’s, PayDay, Peanut Brittle, and chocolate-covered almonds unfortunately come with some risks when you have braces. Nuts are infamous for getting stuck in wires and stuck between teeth. Similar to hard candy, biting down on a nut can disrupt your treatment and require a replacement bracket.
If you saw your favorite candy (or your child’s favorite candy) on that list, we send our deepest condolences. Take a moment to grieve, donate your candy to someone else, then prepare yourself for an even longer list of braces-approved Halloween candy!
Best Candy for Braces
- Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
- Hershey’s chocolate bars
- Hershey’s kisses
- Three Musketeers
- Ice cream
- Ice cream sandwiches
- Soft cookies without nuts: Sugar cookies, chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter cookies
- Kit Kat bars
- Milky Way
- Jelly beans
You aren’t as limited as you may have thought! There are tons of different braces-friendly candies out there. Don’t limit yourself to old habits and favorites. If you aren’t sure whether your favorite candy is a braces-friendly snack, we encourage you to reach out to us or ask us at your next check-in appointment.
The Spooky Truth About Oral Hygiene & Halloween
A broken bracket or loose wire isn’t the only thing to worry about with Halloween candy. As we all know, candy has a lot of sugar—and sugar often means cavities.
It’s not necessarily the sugar that creates the cavities. It’s the bacteria that feeds on the sugar. (Yikes!)
Our mouths are home to over 6 billion bacteria at any time. While a lot of these bacteria are considered good bacteria, and they won’t harm you, there are some bad bacteria just waiting for a chance to grow.
When sugar comes in contact with these bad bacteria, this creates acid in the mouth. The mouth becomes an acidic environment, meaning the pH of saliva drops below 5.5. – the normal pH range for saliva is 6.2 to 7.6.
When the pH levels in your mouth dip, this increased acidity starts to break down the protective enamel on your teeth and places you at a higher risk of developing cavities (tooth decay).
The science lesson is over. Now we need to create solutions – how does one “Halloween” with braces, but without cavities? Check out these tips!
- Rinse your mouth & brush your teeth!
After you enjoy a handful of candies, give your teeth a break! Go rinse your mouth out with water and brush your teeth. Rinsing your mouth out and cleaning your teeth can prevent the sugars from building up and creating a highly-acidic environment in your mouth.
The longer you leave sugar on your teeth, the more damage it does. Even a mouthful of water can cleanse your teeth and reduce the acid damage.
- Don’t go to sleep without flossing.
Of all nights, Halloween night is especially critical for cleaning your teeth! After you’ve filled your stomach with candy and your teeth have gone through the wringer, they’ll need your support.
Brush your teeth, then give them a thorough flossing. You want to make sure you’re not leaving any sugars between your teeth to build up overnight. This is how cavities form!
- Consider clear aligners instead!
If you haven’t begun orthodontic treatment yet, or you’re doing some reconnaissance before your child begins treatment, consider choosing clear aligners instead of braces. We’re proud to offer clear aligner treatment for all ages, including Invisalign First for kids, Invisalign for teens, Invisalign for adults, and our very own in-house 3D-printed SO Clear Aligners for minor tooth movement.
Clear aligners are removable, which means no dietary restrictions—no Halloween candy restrictions! Your child can simply remove his or her aligners to chow down, then clean the aligners, clean their teeth thoroughly, and place the aligners back in to continue with their treatment.
Both braces and clear aligners are a great option for anyone. It all comes down to personal preference! Our orthodontists’ level of experience enables us to offer clear aligners to anyone, no matter your condition. If you’re ready to start treatment before this Halloween, or if you’re preparing for next year, request your complimentary consultation today.
If you have any questions about acceptable candies or you have a question about your child’s treatment, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We love hearing from you.
We’re here to guide you through your treatment process, from your very first visit, to your last appointment – and every holiday that falls in between.