Is it Okay to Eat Halloween Candy if You Have Braces?
With the arrival of Halloween, one of the most frequent questions we get from those with braces is, “Can I eat Halloween candy?” The short answer is YES, ENJOY!
However, it is important to be mindful how much sugar you are eating and what candies you should avoid to keep your braces in good shape. Sugar, and especially various types of candy can be more troublesome to deal with for those wearing braces. Some candies have a tendency to stick to brackets and wires more so than others. In fact, candy that is particularly sticky or nutty can even damage your braces.
Candies like these don’t just get stuck in braces; they can become embedded in the wires which can loosen or distort them. Some of the worst offenders include:
- Jelly beans
- Candy apples
- Jaw breakers
- Nutty bars containing peanuts or almonds
- Tootsie Rolls
- Gum Drops
- Jolly Ranchers
We recommend you stick with softer type candies such as peanut butter cups or plain chocolate bars. Fortunately, there are a number of great selections out there such as:
- Soft chocolate such as Hershey’s Kisses
- Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
- Nestle Crunch Bars
- Milk Way Bars
- Kit Kat Bars
- Three Musketeers
- Peppermint Patties
Dental Hygiene Challenges for Braces and Candy
Even though some candies are safe for your braces, they still contain sugar which can cause those pesky and sometimes painful cavities. This is especially true if you have braces since the candy can sit against your teeth for hours after eating. It hides in all of the nooks and crannies which can cause bacteria to quickly form and lead to tooth decay.
It’s always important to practice good oral hygiene, but especially so at Halloween when candy and sugar consumption is high! Candy can sit against your teeth for hours after eating. With braces, food particles aren’t always visible and can hide in the nooks and crannies between braces and the teeth. This can lead to tooth decay since bacteria can form quickly. Make sure you brush your teeth after each meal (which includes snacking on candy), followed by a quick rinse with mouthwash.
We suggest the following tools to help with your oral hygiene when you have your braces:
- A soft toothbrush which should be replaced at least every three months.
- A non-alcoholic mouthwash to rinse with after brushing
- An interproximal tooth brush (looks similar to a pipe cleaner and works great for getting to those hard to reach places).
- Waxed dental floss along with a floss threader.
Enjoy Your Candy But Don’t Forget to Brush!
It’s best to brush in small circular type motions. Spend at least two full minutes brushing your teeth and remember to brush the inside of your teeth too. Make sure and also lightly brush the roof of your mouth and the tongue as this helps to loosen any bacteria in the mouth. An electric toothbrush can also be used gently to get the job done a little faster.
Second, use your interproximal toothbrush to really get between braces and wires, and also to get underneath and between the teeth and gums. You don’t want to brush too hard or you can damage your braces; use a light and gentle touch.
While it isn’t feasible to floss after each meal, it’s a good idea to floss every single day at least once. We recommend using a waxed dental floss. A floss threader can help to reach the nooks and crannies that are extra hard to reach. Flossing can be a little more cumbersome with braces, however, Dr. Grewal and our staff at Love Orthodontics can show you exactly how you should do this. With a little practice, it will become second nature and will get much faster.
The last thing you should do is to rinse with a good, gentle mouthwash which will help to kill any remaining bacteria that are stuck to the teeth.
And, of course, don’t forget to see your dentist every 6 months for a checkup and teeth cleaning. Having braces does require a few extra steps in your hygiene routine. Just always remember to keep the end goal in mind – a beautiful and healthy new smile!