No matter how old (or young) you may be, the best part of Halloween is getting to indulge in all the candy and treats that are normally “off limits” during the year. Enjoying Halloween candy with braces, however, could be challenging, biting into a candied apple or a toffee candy bar could result in a sticky, unpleasant mess. Every year, we treat patients for candy-related emergencies, like popped wires or broken brackets. As anyone who’s found themselves in a similar sticky mess will tell you, Halloween is not the time for an orthodontic emergency!
Candy corn, Starbursts, skittles, Tootsie Rolls, licorice and Snickers candy bars can all spell disaster for your Halloween plans. Can you still get your candy fix without damaging your braces or bending a wire? Absolutely! Just stick to this list of what to eat – and not to eat – to have a fun and disaster-free Halloween.
Eat This, Not That: Halloween Candy Safe for Braces
DON’T: Caramel. Any candy or treat that contains caramel is a huge no-go for anyone wearing braces. Both soft and hard caramels can easily get stuck in your braces. In addition to creating a sticky mess that’s difficult to clean up, if enough caramel gets stuck to your braces, the candy can tear your bracket right off. Caramel apples are no-go too. Biting into the hardened exterior can pop off a bracket or wire– not to mention chipping your teeth, too!
DO: Pure chocolate bars. Skip the chocolate-coated nut bars and caramels and indulge your sweet tooth with a pure chocolate bar or bite-sized chocolate candy. Hersey’s bars and kisses, plain M&Ms, and higher-end gourmet chocolate bars are all great options. Rather than biting directly into the chocolate bar, break off a smaller piece to enjoy safely.
DON’T: Chewy candies. Avoid candy corn, Starbursts, tootsie rolls, gumdrops, taffies, Airheads and other chewy candies. Like caramel candies, these chewy candies can easily get lodged between your teeth and braces, or worse, get stuck to a bracket and pull the bracket right off. There’s no safe way to enjoy a chewy candy until your braces are off.
DO: Mint candies. Peppermint patties and Junior Mints are like eating mint chocolate chip ice cream in a candy bar without the brain freeze. If you wear braces, you can safely indulge in mint candies. They’re soft enough to bite into without popping a bracket, but not too sticky to risk getting trapped between your wires, brackets and teeth. Even though these candies may taste refreshing thanks to their mint flavouring, keep in mind that the candies are loaded with sugar. Rinse your mouth with water immediately after eating to help remove sugar from your teeth and be sure to brush your teeth before going to bed!
DON’T: Hard candies. Jawbreakers and other hard candies will do more than just “break your jaw”. They can break your braces, too. Watch out for jolly ranchers, butterscotch candies (which will also be sticky), Lifesavers, Nerds and even Tic Tacs. These candies all have a reputation for popping off brackets, bending wires and even chipping teeth. Just say no!
DO: Get your peanut butter fix with Reese’s. Love peanut butter? You can safely get your peanut butter and chocolate fix with Reese’s cups and Reese’s Pieces. These candies strike that balance between soft enough to enjoy without popping a bracket but not being too sticky to risk getting stuck between your wires and teeth.
DON’T: Popcorn balls. For many families, homemade popcorn balls are a fun part of Halloween celebrations. But if you wear braces, you need to steer clear of popcorn until after your braces are off. The same goes for other Halloween traditions like bobbing for apples or candied apples. Unless you have removable aligners (like Invisalign) skip these traditions until after your braces are off. Get into the Halloween spirit with a freshly baked pumpkin muffin instead!