It’s October, which means the season of pumpkin spice and leaves changing. While most associate the month with Halloween and trick-or-treating, many don’t know that October is also National Orthodontic Health Month. Orthodontic Health Month was created by the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO) as a way to raise awareness of the benefits of orthodontic treatment and the importance of good oral health.
While many associate October with Halloween candy, those undergoing Orthodontic treatment often wonder how they can indulge as well. Here at Park Avenue Orthodontics, Dr. Janet Stoess-Allen recommends sticking to chocolate, especially dark chocolate, which is healthiest, over chewy candy.
The AAO also recommends five timely tips to protect braces, aligners and other orthodontic appliances while protecting teeth from decay:
- Avoid sticky situations with your braces and aligners. Stay away from hard, sticky, crunchy or chewy candy and snacks. These include caramel, gummies, licorice, taffy, bubblegum (even the sugarless kind), jelly beans and soft drinks.
- Say “boo” to hard treats – including hard-shelled peanut candies, nuts or nut-filled candies, taco chips and popcorn (especially unpopped kernels). And whether in orthodontic treatment or not, we advise that no one should ever chew ice.
- Brush up! Sweets can cause cavities, which means brushing and flossing are more important than ever during the Halloween season. Orthodontic patients should be especially vigilant about brushing and flossing after consuming sugary or starchy foods.
- Spooktacular news: Not all Halloween candy is off-limits. Good alternatives include soft chocolates, peanut butter cups or other melt-in-your-mouth varieties. The American Association of Orthodontists even offers orthodontic-friendly recipes for Halloween on its website at http://www.mylifemysmile.org/pressroom.
- Make a commitment to oral health. Deciding to avoid hard and chewy sweets before the Halloween season increases your rate of success – and reduces the likelihood that you’ll break braces.