Crisp mornings, falling leaves, fun costumes, and spooky sights – it can only be October! It’s also National Orthodontic Health Month, and Clauss Orthodontics is taking a little extra time to educate people about the benefits of orthodontic treatments and how they can create a healthy, beautiful smile. It also happens to be the month we celebrate Halloween! This gives us the opportunity to help orthodontic patients successfully navigate a holiday that’s centered around copious amounts of candy.
It’s not uncommon for kids in braces to feel a little anxious about working their way through bowls and bags full of sweet treats while wearing braces. We want all our patients to be able to focus on crazy costumes and fun fall festivals this Halloween, not bent wires and broken brackets. Below you’ll find a list of candy your kids can indulge in, which ones to avoid, and what you can do with all those leftovers you don’t want to eat!
Candy you should keep in the crypt
When it comes to wearing braces, one of the scariest things about Halloween is all the sticky, chewy candy people like to hand out. These are the worst kinds of sugary sweets for anyone wearing braces, because they can stick in all the nooks and crannies, and even pull parts off. Chewing on hard candy also puts a huge amount of pressure on your braces, which can easily lead to broken brackets and bent wires. Every time a bracket or wire has to be repaired or replaced, it sets the treatment process back a step.
To keep your child’s plan on track, keep them away from treats like:
- hard candy
- jelly beans
- candy corn
- chewy candy
- candy apples
Candy that gets the orthodontic seal of approval
The good news is, being in braces doesn’t have to mean sitting off to the side while everyone else digs into their Halloween haul. There are plenty of treats kids can still enjoy even with braces. Anything with soft chocolate tends to be a good choice, and this includes lots of classic candies like:
- Reese’s peanut butter cups
- Kit Kats
- Plain M&M’s and Reese’s Pieces
- 3 Musketeers
- Hershey Bars & Hershey’s Kisses
Have your child steer clear of anything with caramel or nuts, too, and be aware that biting into bigger sized candy bars can damage the brackets adhered to the front teeth. Fun-sized bars are the way to go!
Make your own monster treats
Halloween doesn’t have to be all about candy. Whip up some delicious desserts of your own to share with all the ghosties and goblins in your life, braces or no braces. Bonus: these recipes are good for you, too!
Boo-Nana Ghost Pops
(recipe thanks to www.momskitchenhandbook.com)
¾ cup vanilla yogurt (avoid using Greek yogurt)
Mini chocolate chips
6 wooden popsicle sticks
- Line a 9-inch baking pan with parchment or waxed paper.
- Peel the bananas and cut them in half crosswise at a slight angle. Insert a popsicle stick into the cut end of each banana and push it about halfway up.
- Put the yogurt into a small bowl. Hold onto the pops by the popsicle sticks and roll each banana in the yogurt to coat the exterior (tilting the bowl so the yogurt pools on the side makes this easier). Let excess yogurt drip back into the bowl (you can run your finger along the back of the bananas to remove the excess).
- Lay the pops in the baking pan. (Expect to have some leftover yogurt to snack on while you wait for these to firm up!)
- Push the pointy top of 2 chocolate chips into each banana to make the eyes of the ghosts.
- Put into the freezer to firm up, at least 3 hours.
- Remove pops from the freezer and use a knife to trim away any yogurt that pooled and froze along the sides of the banana. Serve straight from the freezer.Note: Once pops are frozen, store them in a resealable bag or covered container in the freezer.
Candy Corn Fruit Cocktail
(adapted from www.familyfreshmeals.com)
1 can pineapple chunks, drained
1 can mandarin oranges, drained
In a clear glass, layer pineapple, oranges, and Cool Whip. Garnish with a few pieces of candy corn. Serve immediately, or chill until ready to serve.
Switch it up
Introduce your kids to the “Candy Fairy” or the “Switch Witch.” Have them leave the candy they can’t eat out at night and swap them out for a book, small toy, or other gift. This creative solution to collecting “forbidden” treats adds a sense of magic and positivity to what can sometimes be a frustrating experience.
Share the Halloween haul
Donating unwrapped candy is an easy way to brighten someone’s day! Children in shelters may not have the chance to go trick-or-treating, and charitable organizations like Operation Shoebox collect candy to include in care packages for soldiers abroad and first responders who are stateside. Nursing homes may also accept donations, and you can make it even more special by including notes or drawings from your children. Donating gives kids a sense of pride and takes the sting out of not being able to indulge in some of their favorite Halloween treats.
Happy Halloween from Clauss Orthodontics!
Wearing braces doesn’t have to take any of the fun out of your child’s Halloween celebrations. With a little patience, planning, and creativity, you can make it a night to remember! If you still have questions or concerns about helping your child navigate the spookiest night of the year in braces, our team are always here to help. Whatever your family’s plans for Halloween include, we wish you a safe and happy holiday!