Help kids keep braces from breaking this Halloween

bracesBy Betsy Stein

Do your kids want to keep their braces on even one minute longer than necessary? Then let them know that eating certain candy this Halloween could prolong their orthodontia agony.

Prolonging braces

All told, that one piece of candy could set treatment back one to two months, Mandrich says.

To prevent this from happening, Dr. Rob Bolton of Steward and Labbe Orthodontics in Annapolis, Bowie, Gambrilles and Greenbelt has a rule of thumb to make Halloween a little less "tricky" for kids with braces.

"When Halloween is complete — think before you eat," he says. "Any sweet that melts or dissolves in your mouth is a 'treat.' Any candy that is crunchy, hard, chewy or can stick is a 'trick.'"

"We suggest parents find alternatives to off-limit treats ... so kids don't feel deprived," Mandrich says.

Chocolate, candy that dissolves, cupcakes, cookies and ice cream are a few alternatives that orthodontists recommend for kids with braces.

Or you can do what Chesapeake Family magazine Facebook fan, Mary Evans Henry does.

"Usually my son decides to turn his candy in to a dentist or charity so I'll get him a small gift card to iTunes or a place he likes to eat," she says.

And orthodontists also remind kids that prolonged exposure to sweet, sugar filled foods increases the risk for tooth decay and demineralization of tooth enamel around orthodontic appliances. So after eating sweets, remember to brush and floss well.

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