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Braces-Friendly Halloween Treats

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We recently posted about National Orthodontic Health Month in October, and we mentioned some quick tips for maintaining orthodontic health during Thanksgiving and Halloween. With the latter being right around the corner, parents everywhere are searching for alternative treats for those with braces. Halloween is truly a time for fun, and a time for kids to simply be kids; dress up in fun costumes, then collect and eat as much candy as possible. It can also be a great opportunity to teach your children important lessons about nutrition and dental care. They can learn good oral health habits for life, without being deprived of precious Halloween treats… It’s all about moderation.

WebMD explains, “The message isn’t “candy is bad,” but that candy and other sweets, in excess, can lead to cavities. Children learn two important lessons:

  • How to control their diets

  • That what they eat relates to oral health, not just physical health”

This is also beneficial for children with orthodontics. Take the time to teach them what snacks are harmful to their braces and help them understand why. Try mixing in healthy snacks with the Halloween candy to balance out your child’s diet. You can be the oral-health-friendly house on the block who passes out healthier alternatives for not only those with braces, but for all children to enjoy (and their parents will thank you!). As for the candy your children bring home, don’t be afraid to be a label snob; read candy labels carefully to identify any problem ingredients, and limit their daily candy intake as much as possible.

It is advisable to set out some kind of schedule for snacking. Create a specific “treat time” after mealtime, as saliva production increases during meals, helps cancel out acids produced by bacteria in your mouth and helps rinse away food particles. Each time your kids indulge in Halloween candy, make sure they finish off with a glass of water, which will help clean sugary residue off their teeth and their braces.

TREATS TO AVOID

  • Hard candy and other sweets that stay in your mouth for a long time

  • Sticky candies that cling to your teeth, like taffy or caramel

  • Beef Jerky and other leathery food treats

  • Licorice

  • Bubble Gum

  • Jelly Beans

  • Popcorn and nuts 

TREATS TO CHOOSE

  • Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

  • Plain M&M’s

  • Oreo’s & Soft Cookies

  • Hershey Kisses

  • Fruits and applesauce

  • Chocolate Bars without nuts or caramel

  • Marshmallow

  • Twinkies, Snow balls, Ding Dongs

  • Ice Cream or Popsicles (no ice)

  • Jell-O or Pudding

  • Low sugar, non-carbonated drinks

  • Cookies and Crackers

  • Chips

  • Cheetos

USE CAUTION WHEN EATING

  • Chips – eat them carefully and one at a time

  • Apples – cut into small pieces

  • Soda and sugary drinks – drinking too much can cause tooth decay

SWEET SUBSTITUTES

  • Choose solid chocolate over one filled with a sticky center, as the candy filling may stick to braces and teeth.

  • Choose candy bars without nuts or caramel filling, like Kit Kats or 3 Muskateers.

ORTHO-FRIENDLY HALLOWEEN RECIPES

For more information on eating Halloween treats with orthodontics, check out the American Association of Orthodontics’ Quick-Reference Halloween Treat Guide.

A little moderation goes a long way when it comes to eating treats with orthodontics, but it doesn’t have to be such a chore! Holidays are all about fun, and Halloween is a time where you can be creative and help those with orthodontics by offering smarter and healthier alternatives. Happy Halloween Ottawa!


October is National Orthodontic Month

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Summer flew by this year, as usual, and now we’re quickly diving into Fall! The trees are starting to turn those beautiful autumn colours and storefronts are starting to get into the Thanksgiving and Halloween spirit. Meanwhile, the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO) and, of course, we here at Wellington Village Orthodontics are excitedly preparing for National Orthodontic Month in Ottawa!

October is here and it is our favourite month, because it is recognized in Canada and the U.S. as National Orthodontic Month, sponsored by the AAO, where we get to celebrate your beautiful, healthy smile – the biggest benefit of your orthodontic treatment! Plus, with Halloween at the end of the month, October also provides us the opportunity to raise awareness regarding orthodontic care, which plays an important role in dental health and overall physical health. Not only that, but it actually contributes to the movement of your teeth during your orthodontic treatment. Clean teeth respond much better (and as intended) to the gentle force from orthodontic wires, whereas braces that are covered in sticky candy or plaque make it much more difficult for teeth to move, as they cause increased inflammation in gums.

The most obvious concern of Halloween are the treats. We made a list of Back to School Snacks, which also has information on what to avoid, including an excessive amount of sugars or even raisins! To help minimize sugary residue on teeth and to reduce risk of a broken bracket, it’s a good idea to stay away from the following snacks, due to an increased chance of pulling a wire or bracket:

  • Super chewy candy, like taffy and caramel

  • Beef Jerky and other leathery food treats

  • Liquorice

  • Bubble Gum

  • Jelly Beans

  • Hard candies like candy canes and lollipops

  • Popcorn and nuts

Don’t worry, we aren’t here just to tell you what not to eat! We understand that Halloween is an exciting time to dress up and celebrate with friends and family – and of course, delicious treats. Throughout the month, orthodontists across the continent will be sharing several tips, tricks, and treats for you to enjoy! We will be writing an extensive list of braces-friendly Halloween treats and recipes, but for now, you can prepare early by checking out all the great information from AAO. The American Association of Orthodontics website provides a cornucopia of information regarding your teeth, including a list of creative Halloween-themed, orthodontic-friendly treat recipes like Goblin Goodies and Black Cherry Fruit Bats and Citrus Orange Pumpkin Fruity Cutouts! Plus they have a quick-reference Halloween treat guide which gives you a lot of information in an easy-to-read (and printable!) format. They recommend sweets like:

  • Soft, melt-in-your-mouth chocolates

  • Peanut butter cups

  • Milk shakes

  • Gelatin

  • Peeled, thinly sliced apples

  • Ice cream

With Thanksgiving coming up soon as well, it’s important to keep these tips in mind when you plan your family feast. If you normally make a dessert with walnuts, consider leaving them out of the recipe this year, for the sake of those with braces. Maybe try to add a new recipe into the mix, using orthodontic-friendly treats. Stay tuned for our next blog post for more information and great recipe ideas to keep your Thanksgiving and Halloween celebrations fun and tasty for everyone, including those with orthodontics. Thanks for reading, and have happy National Orthodontic Month!