Halloween is a favorite holiday of most children (and adults). The promise of free candy in large quantities is almost too much to resist, not to mention the hoard of sweets that (hopefully) lasts more than one night.
But Halloween can also be a mine field for those with braces. Not only do they face the same dental health concerns anyone does when confronted with so many delicious goodies, but there’s also a concern about broken brackets and wires and candy stuck in hard to reach places.
It’s not a lost cause! There are still plenty of ways to enjoy a Halloween treat, even with braces. Check out these recommendations for tips and safe candies to try this coming Halloween.
Safe Candies to Try
Not all candy is created equal and that means you don’t have to keep your child from participating in the festivities, just because they have braces. Candies to look for should be sugar free and look for ones with xylitol. As a sweetener, xylitol is an excellent choice. Whereas some sweeteners may cause health risks, studies show that xylitol has actual health benefits. It doesn’t spike blood sugar or insulin, starves the plaque-producing bacteria in your mouth and feeds friendly microbes in your digestive system. It is a naturally occurring sugar found in strawberries, mushrooms, endive lettuce, just to name a few.
Candies to Avoid
Sadly, there are some types of candy you will want to steer clear from. You may not be able to avoid your child receiving one of these more dangerous candies, but if you can intercept them, your trick-or-treater’s teeth and braces will thank you.
- Hard candies, including suckers
- Chewy candies, including taffy and licorice
- Treats with nuts
- Jelly beans
- Bubble gum
- Especially sour or fruity candy
Tips for Healthy Teeth After Halloween
It’s great to stick to the safer candies, but as an added layer of defense and a way to create good sweet-eating habits, try some of these tricks to help your treating remain a fun time, rather than a recipe for repairs.
- Set a limit
Whether you decide to limit the number of candies your child eats on Halloween or the grams of sugar, setting a limit for how much candy they eat on the day of Halloween and the days after will make a huge difference in avoiding cavities and damages to their braces. Try creating a candy bank, so they have clear boundaries about how much candy they can eat in one day.
- Keep the sugar contact with their teeth short
Letting sugar sit on the teeth is an easy way to ask for cavities, especially for someone with braces where there are tons of little crevices for sugar to hide. After your child enjoys their treats, have them swish with water to help remove any lingering sugar on their teeth and around their braces.
- Eat before trick-or-treating
Just like you shouldn’t go to the grocery store on an empty stomach, you should make sure that your little one is well fed before trick-or-treating. This will help them resist the urge to binge on their candy during their time trick-or-treating, giving you a better chance of managing how much sugar they consume. This will also help them to eat less of their haul when they get home for the night.
Even with the most preparation possible, your child will likely eat more candy than they normally would or than you’re expecting on Halloween. Following good dental health practices and being aware of dangerous candies that can break their braces or lodge behind them will help your child wake up with healthy teeth and in-tact braces the days following Halloween.
Remember to use up your dental benefits before they expire at the end of this year. A deep teeth cleaning is exactly what your family will need after trick-or-treating. Give our Long Beach dental office a call at 562-434-6414 or request an appointment here.