With Halloween right around the corner, it is the time for spooky costumes, tricks and treats!  We encourage children to have fun and enjoy their candy, but there are a few important things to keep in mind when eating their Halloween treats!

In orthodontics we say that ALL candy should be avoided. Since this becomes incredibly difficult for the children to adhere to during Halloween,  we would instead advise that during Halloween anything sticky, gummy or hard be avoided. Candy that contains nuts should also be passed by. These types of candy tend to break the orthodontic appliances and can lead to painful poking wires, loose appliances and broken brackets. Breakage delays the treatment process. Instead try to stick to anything soft. Something like plain chocolate, which can melt in your mouth or a plain Peanut Butter cup are really good choices.

Besides breaking appliances, eating gummy foods and candies can also lead to T.M.J. dysfunction. T.M.J. is when the Temporomandibular joint becomes inflamed. This is the joint that joins the jaw bone to the cheek bone. When inflamed there is pain and discomfort at the joint. The jaw might also make a clicking noise or have difficulty opening. T.M.J. is especially common in kids and adults that chew gum on a regular basis. It is also can be found when clenching and grinding of the teeth is an issue. Clenching and grinding can come from stress or from habit.

Treatment of T.M.J. can take several months and may include heat, ice, bite plates, massage and a diet of soft food. It is always best to consult with a specialist if any of the above symptoms occur or persist.

To encourage anyone with sticky, gummy or hard candy to NOT eat it, Dr. Gibbs has instituted a “Candy Buy-Back Program”. Kids can go through their candy and separate all the things that are not good to eat with braces on. Keep all the soft candy and chocolate, but bring all the sticky and hard candy to our office and we will buy it back for $1.50 a pound! Imagine that…getting paid to part with the gooey stuff! This program of ours has been going on for over 15 years and gets more popular as the years go on. It is a win-win situation for our patients and for Dr. Gibbs.

For those that are not our patients, check with your own orthodontist to see if they have a candy buy-back program. If your orthodontist does not, you might suggest that they start one too!