October is National Orthodontic Health Month! This awareness campaign was created cooperatively by orthodontists and other dental health professionals. During this month, we make a special effort to promote dental health, and more particularly, orthodontic health. It can be a tricky month for many of our patients with Halloween bringing in all sorts of sticky temptations. The American Association of Orthodontics has offered some tricks *and treats* to help 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, chips and popcorn (especially unpopped kernels). And whether in orthodontic treatment or not, we advise that 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 American Association of Orthodontics even offers orthodontic-friendly recipes for Halloween on its website at http://www.mylifemysmile.org/pressroom.
- Make a commitment to your 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.
Candy Corn Popsicles
Here’s a fun twist on a classic holiday candy! This treat will be easy on your braces- and is still tasty!
- ¼ cup cream of coconut
- ¾ cup coconut water
- 1 cup pineapple juice
- 1 cup mango juice
- Red food coloring
- Combine coconut water and the cream of coconut in a measuring cup. Pour into 10, 3-ounce molds- dividing evenly.
- Freeze coconut mixture in molds until set (at least 2 hours).
- Mix the mango juice with 1 drop of food coloring in a measuring cup. Pour on top of the coconut mixture mold, dividing evenly. Insert popsicle sticks, pushing gently into the coconut mixture to keep them upright. Place molds back into the freezer and freeze until firm (at least 2 hours)
- Pour pineapple juice on top of the frozen mango mixture, dividing evenly. Freeze all three mixtures together until firm (at least 2 hours- up to 4 days)