No longer a forbidden treat: Halloween tips for orthodontic patients

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:57

    Sparta, N.J. n The haunting hours of Halloween can mean big trouble for little trick-or-treaters. Dr. Domenic Grano of Grano Orthodontics in Sparta reminds patients to follow guidelines for keeping braces intact. “If it’s sticky, chewy, hard, or crunchy,” Grano said, “it is a food that anyone wearing braces or retainers should avoid.” October is National Orthodontic Health Month, and orthodontists urge patients to stay away from caramel, gum and taffy. Other foods to steer away from are popcorn kernels, peanuts and tortilla chips. Orthodontists frequently remind patients that consuming “off-limits” foods could lengthen their treatment time. If a patient chooses to eat the wrong treat and causes damage to his braces, the orthodontic office should be called so that arrangements can be made to correct the problem. “Very often, small problems can be solved over the phone. Loose brackets or poking wires can usually be made more comfortable by applying some orthodontic wax until the patient can be seen in the office,” Grano said. Of course, Halloween should not have to be completely treat-free. If a patient chooses to indulge, plain chocolate candy and peanut butter cups are the least damaging to the braces. But, with the high sugar content in these treats, patients should remember to brush and floss afterwards. Healthy, braces-friendly treat suggestions can be found on the American Association of Orthodontists’ Web site, “It is important that our patients have fun while in treatment,” Grano said. “However, cooperation is always key, and being careful at Halloween could keep patients on track to great results.”