Here are some tricks to make Halloween a treat!

Who knows exactly what Halloween will look like this year, but one constant is stores filled to the brim with candy, candy, candy! Popped brackets, broken wires, sticky treats stuck in your braces, and the risk of cavities sound like a horror movie. With a bit of planning, you can take part in the festivities without getting in trouble with your orthodontist (and parents).

Here are some tips to make Halloween a treat:

Designate an amount of time to indulge – When you eat, saliva production increases. By eating your sweet treats immediately after a meal, you help reduce acids made by bacteria, and saliva can help rinse away food particles. You can also set aside a few treats to enjoy at once and then brush right after to remove any sugary residue. By setting aside a specific time to indulge, you can also prevent yourself from snacking on candy all day.

Be extra diligent with brushing and flossing – We’ve all been there – it’s late, and we think just skipping one time won’t hurt anything. But brushing is important while you have braces and even more so if you have enjoyed some of your hard-earned Halloween treats. Using a fluoridated mouth rinse after brushing can also help keep cavities at bay.

Not all treats are created equal – Choosing your treats wisely is also important to enjoying Halloween. Sticky candies can get stuck in your brackets and are hard to clean out of the tiny spaces. You should also avoid hard candies like jawbreakers. Not only can they dislodge brackets, but because they dissolve slowly, they continuously bathe your teeth in sugar, increasing your risk of cavities. Opt for a plain chocolate bar or a peanut butter cup instead of candy corns, jellybeans, and candy bars that have nuts and caramel.

Hydrate and rinse away sugar and bacteria – Water keeps your body hydrated, and that includes your mouth and gums. Sipping on water throughout the day also helps wash away decay-causing bacteria and fills you up, so you’re less likely to reach for that candy bar in-between meals.

Keep treats to a minimum – Treats are just that – treats. A little now and then is ok if your diet is otherwise healthy. A colorful variety of fruits, veggies, lean meats, and dairy can go a long way. A fiber-rich diet also keeps you feeling fuller longer and helps prevent the sugar crashes that come with a diet that’s heavy on candy.

As with everything, moderation is key. You can still enjoy Halloween and indulge in a little candy. If you know what to choose and how to keep your mouth healthy, spending Halloween in braces doesn’t sound so scary after all.