It’s October – Time to Celebrate National Orthodontic Health Month
Ah…October. That month when leaves are turning brilliant colors, the air is getting crisp and people turn their attention to…orthodontic health?! That’s right! October is National Orthodontic Health Month. A whole month devoted to celebrating healthy smiles, learning more about the benefits of orthodontic treatment, and the importance of good oral health.
Orthodontic treatment is a way of straightening or moving teeth to improve their appearance and how they work, while also making it easier to clean the teeth. It can also help in the long-term care of your teeth, gums and jaw joints, by evenly distributing pressure to all your teeth.
Some of the common reasons that people seek orthodontic treatment include crooked or crowded teeth, prominent teeth or an incorrect bite. Left untreated, these issues can result in more oral health problems, including tooth decay, tooth loss, gum disease or even jaw problems.
Braces and invisible aligners are some of the more commonly used “appliances” used today to guide the teeth back into place. Once the initial treatment is complete, a retainer will help keep the newly straightened teeth stabilized while the surrounding gum and bones settle.
While many people consider this treatment for kids and teens, age is less important than having the right amount of permanent teeth. In fact, it’s becoming more common for adults to seek treatment to correct long-standing problems or to fix changes that occur as they age. Today, one in four orthodontic patients is an adult.*
If you’re one of the millions of people currently undergoing orthodontic treatment, the American Association of Orthodontists shares these tips to protect braces, aligners and other appliances during the treat-filled month of October.
1) Stay away from hard, sticky, crunchy or chewy Halloween candies and snacks. Take a pass on things like caramel, gummies, licorice, gum and jelly beans. It’s so tempting during Halloween season, but trust us – you’ll be able to enjoy these treats sooner if you take good care of your orthodontic appliances now.
2) Avoid hard treats. Nuts and nut-filled treats, chips and popcorn – all of these could break brackets and bands or damage the wires on braces.
3) Brush! Sweets and treats can cause cavities. Brushing and flossing are more important than ever during this sugar-filled season. Orthodontic patients should be especially mindful to brush and floss after consuming sugary and starchy foods.
If you want to learn more about what people wearing braces can eat and what they should avoid for now, the American Dental Association’s Mouth Healthy website has some great, easy-to-read information.
If you think you’re a candidate for orthodontic treatment, visit your dentist and get their advice. Your dentist can advise you on your unique situation and whether treatment is recommended.