ST. LOUIS, MO--(Marketwired - October 06, 2015) - For most children, October means one thing: Halloween candy. For orthodontists, it's a month for embracing a beautiful, healthy smile in honor of National Orthodontic Health Month.
After all, we all know that Halloween treats tend to play tricks on patients.
That's why the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) offers these five timely tips to protect braces, aligners and other orthodontic "appliances" while protecting teeth from decay.
- Avoid sticky situations with your braces and aligners. Stay away from hard, sticky, crunchy or chewy candy and snacks. These include caramel, gummies, licorice, taffy, bubblegum (even the sugarless kind), jelly beans and soft drinks.
- Say "boo" to hard treats - including hard-shelled peanut candies, nuts or nut-filled candies, taco chips and popcorn (especially unpopped kernels). Whether in orthodontic treatment or not, no one should ever chew ice.
- Brush up! Sweets can cause cavities, which means brushing and flossing are more important than ever during the Halloween season. Orthodontic patients should be especially vigilant about brushing and flossing after consuming sugary or starchy foods.
- Spooktacular news: Not all Halloween candy is off-limits. Good alternatives include soft chocolates, peanut butter cups or other melt-in-your-mouth varieties. The AAO even offers orthodontic-friendly recipes for Halloween on its website at http://www.mylifemysmile.org/recipes.
- Make a commitment to oral health. Deciding to avoid hard and chewy sweets before the Halloween season increases your rate of success -- and reduces the likelihood that you'll break braces.
"It's okay for orthodontic patients to enjoy some treats at Halloween," says Morris N. Poole, DDS, president of the AAO. "We want everyone to have fun on Halloween. At the same time, we encourage patients to enjoy acceptable treats in moderation, and take that extra couple of minutes to brush and floss. When orthodontic treatment is complete, and patients see their healthy and beautiful new smiles in the mirror, they will know all of their efforts were worthwhile."
About the American Association of Orthodontists
Founded in 1900, the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) is the world's oldest and largest dental specialty organization. It represents 18,000 orthodontist members throughout the United States, Canada and abroad. The AAO encourages and sponsors key research to enable its members to provide the highest quality of care to patients, and is committed to educating the public about the need for, and benefits of, orthodontic treatment.
Orthodontists are uniquely qualified specialists who diagnose, prevent and treat dental and facial irregularities to correctly align teeth and jaws. Orthodontists receive an additional two to three years of specialized education in orthodontics beyond dental school at an accredited orthodontic residency program. Visit the AAO's websites, mylifemysmile.org and aaoinfo.org, for information about orthodontists, orthodontic care and to locate nearby orthodontists.