Halloween gives dental patients and their doctors a reason to scream

| 21 Feb 2012 | 10:51

    SUSSEX COUNTY-Halloween candy mixed with orthodontics is something for parents to scream about. Halloween can be a scary time for children with braces or orthodontic appliances if they are not careful about which foods to consume and which to avoid. October is National Orthodontic Health Month and also the time of the year when children consume candy in industrial amounts because of Halloween, making their orthodontists, well, wired with preoccupation for their patients. Orthodontists are urging patients to stay away from caramel, gum, taffy, hard pretzels, popcorn kernels, peanuts and even some chips in order to avoid scary dental moments in the coming days. "If it's sticky, chewy, hard or crunchy, it is a food that anyone wearing braces should avoid. These types of foods can loosen up the braces, pop a wire, or worse case scenario, a wire could snap and can cut into the lip or cheek. Halloween is a day we really worry about," said Dr. Domenic Grano of Grano Orthodontics in Sparta. According to the doctor, consuming ‘off limits' foods can cause serious damage to the braces and it can slow down the treatment time. If a problem is suspected, parents are advised to make a special appointment to have damaged parts replaced. Parents should not let too much time go by without having the damage repaired because within only a few days, the teeth can actually shift. Candy is not the only suspect to avoid this time of the year. Even apples, which are supposed to keep the doctor away, may force a visit to the orthodontist. "Any foods that are typically bitten off with the front teeth, such as raw vegetables, hard fruits, bagels, meat, etc. should be broken into small bite size pieces and chewed in the back of the mouth instead," said Grano. In the spirit of Halloween, not all treats are considered taboo. Some acceptable indulgences may be plain chocolate or peanut butter cups. But with its high sugar content, patients should remember to brush and floss afterwards. "Have fun, but be mindful of the potential problems with the hard and sticky candy," said Grano. Some ‘braces-safe' recipes that may make a Trick-Or-Treater feel more a part of the fun are: