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!