Let’s face it – most children and teenagers are going to eat sweets on Halloween, and an occasional indulgence won’t be the end of the world for their teeth. But some Halloween treats are better than others, especially if braces are being worn.
With any sugary snack, the longer it is present in the mouth, the greater the potential to cause cavities. That is why the worst things for teeth are hard candies designed to be sucked for a long time. Things like lollypops, hard candies, and jaw breakers are among the worst culprits for causing tooth decay, whether or not braces are present. Similarly, sticky sweets like taffy, caramel, tootsie rolls and bubble gum are difficult to remove from the teeth and can remain in the mouth for minutes or hours, leading to cavities. They also tend to get stuck under the braces and are difficult to brush away.
Crunchy treats are not necessarily bad for teeth, but they are bad for braces. Hard pretzels, nuts, and potato chips can break your braces if not eaten carefully. Similarly, candies with a hard shell that are designed to be crunched can break your braces (this includes smarties and M&Ms).
So which treats are acceptable for those with braces? Plain chocolate bars (no nuts or caramel), or chocolate bars with wafers are less likely to break braces and cause cavities. Examples of these include Kitkat bars, Aero bars, Coffee crisp bars, and others. These treats are less likely to cause problems (provided they are eaten in moderation and are followed by good brushing and flossing).
So for those of our patients who celebrate Halloween, we hope you have a great time trick-or-treating! Go ahead and enjoy some delicious treats, but please choose them wisely. And if you do accidentally crunch on something you shouldn’t, we are open the day after Halloween ☺