In time for Halloween, the AAO has teamed up with Pam Waterman, author of The Braces Cookbook, to bring orthodontic-friendly recipes and treats to kids. The Halloween-themed recipes are designed for patients who wear braces, clear aligners, or other orthodontic appliances.

Halloween tends to be one of the busiest times of the year at orthodontists’ offices, primarily because patients indulge in treats that they should not be eating. Hard, chewy, sticky, or crunchy candies and other treats can damage braces and clear aligners. In addition to patient discomfort, a broken bracket or loose wire may prolong treatment and require additional orthodontic appointments.

"Halloween should be a fun time for all kids—including those in orthodontic treatment," says Lee W. Graber, DDS, MS, PhD, orthodontist and president of the AAO. "We’re pleased to team up with Pam Waterman, author of the Braces Cookbooks, and offer tips and recipes that will help keep braces intact and patients satisfied this Halloween season."

Orthodontic patients can enjoy many traditional Halloween treats. The AAO advises patients to look for softer treats, such as soft chocolate or peanut butter cups,. Those with braces or retainers should avoid any foods that are sticky, chewy, hard, or crunchy. In addition, they should avoid treats or recipes that include caramel, nuts, popcorn, taffy, jelly beans, hard pretzels, licorice, bubblegum, taco chips, or ice.

The AAO also reminds orthodontic patients that they should brush and floss after eating sweets, and if they experiences damage to their orthodontic appliance, they should call their orthodontist to arrange treatment.