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.
Needless to say, braces and candy don’t really go hand-in-hand. So does that mean you and your child should avoid Halloween altogether, buy some braces-friendly snacks, and have your own party? (Actually…that sounds like a great idea.)
Good news: braces won’t stop your child from trick-or-treating. Parents, you won’t have a sad child on Halloween night.
It’s true that not all of the Halloween candy is still on the table if your child has braces. Kids may have to make some trade deals with friends in order to maximize their braces-friendly snack arsenal. But all in all, yes you can still enjoy some candy!
Let’s dive into the different candies you and your child should try to avoid this Halloween—and the ones they’re free to splurge on with braces (with your permission, of course).
Worst Candy for Braces
We’ll deliver the bad news first. These are the candies you should try 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, 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
There are tons of different candies out there. 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).
Okay, the science lesson is over. We just wanted to give some background information on the spooky truth behind sugar before we dive in. Now, 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 Invisalign®.
If you haven’t begun orthodontic treatment yet, or you’re doing some research before you or your teen begins treatment, Invsialign is a convenient option that doesn’t include any dietary restrictions (meaning all Halloween candy is on the table). We’re proud to offer Invisalign for teens and adults. At your complimentary exam, our experienced orthodontists can create a custom treatment plan for you or your teen and make a recommendation of aligners or braces.
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.
Get started by requesting your free exam with top orthodontists in Las Vegas!