Halloween & National Orthodontic Health Month

Ahh, October. Easily one of my favorite months. Time to break out the sweaters as the last leaves change color and line the streets with the brilliant oranges, yellows and reds that make the fall so beautiful here in the Columbus area. Orthodontists find even more to love about October because it is also National Orthodontics Health Month.

Every October, the American Association of Orthodontics (or AAO) celebrates National Orthodontics Health Month as a way to help educate the public about the importance of orthodontic treatment. As members of the AAO, we here at Golden Orthodontics embrace this opportunity to engage our community in a conversation about when, why and how to pursue orthodontic treatment for people of all ages.

I have written about braces in previous blog posts , most notably this post, which discusses the different types of braces (metallic braces, clear braces and Invisalign) and the best age to get braces. It’s worth reading that post if you haven’t yet, or if you just need to refresh your memory. I mention in that post that, while it’s never too late to get braces, the AAO recommends that children have an orthodontic screening by age 7 to determine whether early treatment would benefit the child.

But there is another important factor to consider when deciding when to get an orthodontic screening, of course. Open enrollment for insurance and flexible spending accounts are coming up for most people in the next month. That means October is a great time to see an orthodontist. We urge you to come to Golden Orthodontics for a FREE consultation to determine if (and when) your child (or you) might need treatment. You can contact us to schedule an appointment by clicking here or calling our office at (614) 235-4800.

It may not have escaped your attention that National Orthodontic Health Month happens to be the same month that culminates in the greatest candy-gorging holiday of the year: Halloween. After all, what better month to keep oral hygiene in the public consciousness than the one that leads to so many oral maladies?

Don’t get me wrong. I love Halloween as much as anybody and I would never advocate for denying children the joy of trick-or-treating. (And, just between us, even orthodontists enjoy the occasional piece of candy.) But there are a few important things to keep in mind before diving into that sack of sticky sugar.

As with all things, it’s best to approach candy with moderation. If you care about maintaining a healthy, beautiful smile, it’s also best to know which candies are toughest on your teeth. Consider these distinctions when deciding what your child eats and/or what to hand out at your door:

>>Chewy, sticky candies: Candies with caramel, taffy or gum are the worst for teeth. The sugars get stuck in crevices, making it difficult for saliva and brushing to wash them away. Also, these candies are particularly rough on braces. Ask yourself, before biting into that caramel apple, is this worth a broken bracket?

>>Sour candies: Sour candies are highly acidic and quickly break down tooth enamel. It’s best to stay away from them, but if you do indulge, wait 30 minutes before brushing. Saliva will restore the acid balance in your mouth, but brushing right away actually spreads the acid and increases enamel erosion.

>>Sugary snacks: The bottom line is that sugar is bad for your teeth, especially when it gets stuck in your braces. Don’t overdo it and remember that it is crucial to keep your braces clean.

I come bearing some good news:

Sugar-free lollipops and sugar-free gum stimulate saliva, which is good for your teeth. Sugar-free gum is particularly good because it can help clean your teeth.

No matter your Halloween plans, give us a call to set up a free consultation or to let us answer any questions you might have.

Enjoy October, Columbus.