Halloween Can Be A Sticky Situation for Orthodontists
October is National Orthodontic Health Month. For orthodontists, October is a time to educate people young and old on the benefits of orthodontic treatment to not only create a beautiful smile, but also to create a healthy bite. An abnormal bite can result in multiple issues like tooth decay, gum disease, tooth loss and jaw problems. Braces, aligners and retainers are all tools used in aligning and maintaining teeth.
October is also the month for Halloween festivities and lots of candy. For orthodontists, October can be a sticky situation. For people with braces or other orthodontia, Halloween isn’t much of a treat. In the days or weeks leading up to and following Halloween, orthodontic offices will be flooded with emergency appointments for metal brackets that have popped and poking wires that are irritating cheeks and gums.
Here are a few tips to give your orthodontic patients to protect both their teeth and orthodontic appliances during the Halloween season.
Avoid sticky situations with your braces and aligners. Chewy, sticky candy like caramel, taffy, gum, licorices, and gummies can cause brackets to pop and wires to bend or break. When any of these things happen, and one piece of the brace is compromised, the braces are not doing their job until the problem is properly fixed.
Stay away from hard candies and treats including jawbreakers, jolly ranchers, suckers, and popcorn balls. All these treats put tremendous pressure on your brackets, wires and aligners causing broke and bent orthodontia.
It’s not all bad news.There are plenty of sweet treats that are good alternatives for patients with orthodontia. Soft chocolates, peanut butter cups, chocolate bars (minus the caramel and nuts), and soft, dissolvable candies should have no negative effect on your appliances.
Be diligent about brushing and flossing always, and even more so after sugary foods. There are many orthodontic dental products that are made specifically for orthodontic patients. Orthodontic toothbrushes for braces with v-trim or channel trim bristles are effective at cleaning in and around orthodontic wires and brackets. Orthodontic travel toothbrushes are excellent to have on-the-go for a quick brush after a snack of meal. There are orthodontic flossers made specifically to slide behind wires to floss without the need for a threader. Some flossers include a built-in interdental pick to clean around brackets. Lastly, disposable toothbrushes can be a great tool for orthodontic patients. Some come pre-pasted making them super easy to use anytime, anywhere.
With a little thought and planning, October can be an educational and safe time of year for orthodontic patients. Share good tips with your patients and prevent a slew of emergency appointments while saving those boo-tiful smiles.