Jack O’Lanterns are keeping watch on front door-steps. Store aisles are stuffed with the garb of witches, wizards, ghouls and vampires. The thick scent of nutmeg and spice mingles with the sweet smell of apples and caramel. These are the days of Michael Myers, Norman Bates, Jack Skellington, Wednesday Addams and the Sanderson sisters. Bright oranges and pure blacks rule the color palette and – at least for these few days – one is encouraged to play tricks on others and gobble treats.
This is Halloween. And, as an orthodontic patient, you are in a unique conundrum. You may be receiving invitations to parties where generous candy bowls crowd tabletops or to haunted houses where candy apples are sold outside. Even if you do not celebrate the holiday, its influence is inescapable. The grocery store highlights every sugary delicacy in the front, each seasonal pastry a siren song to an unsuspecting shopper. Everywhere there is sugar – sticky, crunchy sugar. And, if you are reading this, you are either an orthodontic patient or a concerned loved one so you are well acquainted with the “no-no foods” that were given to you when you first started treatment. Although these no-no foods are everywhere, do not despair! We here at Simply Orthodontics believe in creating healthy and beautiful smiles but we also believe in fun. We want you to partake in all the holiday festivities of your heart’s desire, and you absolutely can. You just need to do it smartly, and we can break that down for you.
STEP 1: AVOID STICKY, CHEWY CANDIES
Taffy lovers, we are so sorry but you will need to delay indulging in your favorite candy until after your orthodontic treatment is done. The sticky, chewy treats are the biggest villains for your braces or your phase 1 orthodontic appliance. You may be wondering what is so scary about these candies? The problem is that these chewy sweets can get lodged in your braces and loosen your brackets, which means your brackets can pop off! Broken brackets result in panicked calls to your friendly orthodontist office, who is already swamped enough after Halloween festivities and shenanigans. To protect your smile and your orthodontist’s smile, please refrain from these candies this Spooky Season:
- Tootsie rolls
- Caramel candies (including Werther’s, Milk Duds)
- Chocolate with nuts like Snickers and Almond Joys
- Jelly beans
- Lolly pops
- Hard candies like Nerds, Jolly Ranchers
- Nutty candies like Peanut M&Ms
STEP 2: ENJOY THESE ‘GREEN LIGHT GOODIES’
Just because we gave you a long, comprehensive list in the last paragraph about what candies to avoid doesn’t mean that there aren’t equal numbers of treats that you can enjoy! These following treats will not compromise your smile:
- Reese’s Pieces
- Regular M&Ms (NOT PEANUT M&MS, see previous tip for why)
- Soft cookies
STEP 3: CANDY FREE CELEBRATION
If you would prefer to avoid candy all together, you can still break out your favorite costume (Barbie? Ken? Taylor Swift Eras?) and indulge in the opportunities of the season. You may think that trick or treating minus treats means just tricks, but you are wrong! There are many ways you can enjoy the holiday without risking a cavity or a broken bracket. Here are a few ideas:
- If you have a little one in orthodontic treatment, a candy fairy or a “switch witch” can exchange presents for returned candy. This way you can still experience the fun of trick or treating without the candy!
- Carve pumpkins in the style of whatever is your obsession of the moment
- Visit haunted houses
- Participate in a candy-buy back program
As you can see, the season is your sugar-studded oyster and your ortho treatment does not change that. Keep these tips in mind and let the spooky celebrations commence!
If you have extra candy you can’t enjoy or do not want, please consider donating to our orthodontic office in Irvine. Our annual Candy Buy Back will run from November 1st-November 7th. For each pound of candy donated, we will donate $1 to the Irvine Public Schools Foundation. Last year, we donated over $1000!