Protect Your Braces This Halloween

October 5, 2017

Fall leaves swirl through the streets. Princesses, cartoon characters and scary goblins roam the neighborhoods. And you end up with a giant pumpkin full of the best treats of the year. Halloween is one of the most beloved holiday of the year for families everywhere. But the orthodontic experts at Utah Orthodontics want to warn you that all those treats could be a trick if you have braces.

Why Avoid Sugar?

If you have a sweet tooth, Halloween is likely your favorite holiday. But inside those many chocolate bars, gummy bears, and sour candies, reside that host of sugars. And while there are more than 50 different names on the ingredient list, they all mean trouble for your teeth with braces.

From the minute you bite into that first KitKat, the sugar in the candy begins its work. Sugars like sucrose latches onto your any bacteria already in your mouth as soon as it hits your mouth. Even if you brush your teeth immediately, sucrose helps a mix of protein and carbohydrate molecules, called glycoproteins, stick to your teeth, where plaque starts to form. Sugar will feed the bacteria that cause cavities. Bacteria, in turn, can undergo a process that creates lactic acid, which can eat away at the outer layer of your teeth and lead to cavities. For our North Ogden and Orem patients with braces, the acid can also build up under the braces and leave behind white spots on your teeth that will be slow to fade, if they fade at all. And the acid can even create pockets or holes for bacteria to multiply just out of the reach from your toothbrush and floss.

They key is brushing away that bacteria as quickly as possible after you eat those sweets, before it can attach to your teeth. Be sure to brush at least three minutes and that you brush between the cracks in your teeth to get rid of the sugary residue. If you don’t have a toothbrush handy, consider rinsing with water or mouthwash and using floss that you can carry in your pocket or purse.

Why Avoid Sticky and Hard Candy?

When you pour out that Halloween candy all over your living room floor, you’re going to find  a huge selection of different types of sweets. But whether you’ve gathered sticky, hard or super ooey candy, eating that candy is super hard on your braces for these reasons:

  • Stresses teeth. When you bite into a hard or sticky piece of candy without braces, your tooth is stressed by the force it takes to break down and chew the piece of candy. With braces on your teeth, this can put additional force onto the bracket or band attachment, and there is a good chance it will break or pop off. If this happens, you’ll want to call your nearest Utah Orthodontic office to repair your broken appliance and this could set your treatment back one or two months.
  • Adds pain after adjustment. When you visit one of our many locations across Utah for a braces adjustment or tightening, your teeth will likely be sensitive to the touch for the next few days. Adding the force of eating hard or sticky candy can add unnecessary discomfort after your archwire adjustment.

Halloween Candies To Avoid

  1. Caramel. With caramel applies a fall staple, many patients long for the taste of caramel. However, eating caramel is one of the worst things you can eat if you have braces. The caramel can get stuck in your braces and tear your archwire completely off.
  2. Chewy candies. Avoid candy corn, Starbursts, tootsie rolls, gumdrops, taffies, Airheads and other chewy candies. Like caramel candies, these chewy candies can easily get lodged between your teeth and braces, or worse, get stuck to a bracket and pull the bracket right off. There’s no safe way to enjoy a chewy candy until your braces are off.
  3. Hard candies. Hard candies can break your braces, too. Watch out for jolly ranchers, butterscotch candies (which will also be sticky), Lifesavers, Nerds and even Tic Tacs. These candies all have a reputation for popping off brackets, bending wires and even chipping teeth. Just say no!
  4. Popcorn balls. Making popcorn balls may be party of your family tradition. But if you wear braces, you need to steer clear of popcorn until after your braces are off. The same goes for other Halloween traditions like bobbing for apples or candied apples. Unless you have removable aligners (like Invisalign) skip these traditions until after your braces are off. Get into the Halloween spirit with a freshly baked pumpkin muffin instead!

Halloween Candies To Eat Up!

  1. Pure chocolate bars. Skip the chocolate-coated nut bars and caramels and indulge your sweet tooth with a pure chocolate bar or bite-sized chocolate candy. Hersey’s bars and kisses, plain M&Ms, and higher-end gourmet chocolate bars are all great options. Rather than biting directly into the chocolate bar, break off a smaller piece to enjoy safely.
  2. Mint candies. Peppermint patties and Junior Mints are like eating mint chocolate chip ice cream in a candy bar without the brain freeze. If you wear braces, you can safely indulge in mint candies. They’re soft enough to bite into without popping a bracket, but not too sticky to risk getting trapped between your wires, brackets and teeth. Even though these candies may taste refreshing thanks to their mint flavoring, keep in mind that the candies are loaded with sugar.
  3. Reece’s. You can safely get your peanut butter and chocolate fix with Reese’s cups and Reese’s Pieces. These candies strike that balance between soft enough to enjoy without popping a bracket but not being too sticky to risk getting stuck between your wires and teeth.

Utah Orthodontics is the premier provider of all types of braces in the Salt Lake City area of Utah. If you have any questions about which part of your loot you should leave behind, don’t hesitate to contact us at our nearest location. Our doctors are happy to answer your questions and get you started down the path to a newer, better you!