You might think the holiday season kicks off with Halloween, followed by Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, etc.

Wrong! In our world, it begins with National Orthodontic Health Month, which began Oct. 1.

This is a great time of year, because we get to reinforce the importance of lots of orthodontic health-related topics.

Early Evaluation
We can’t stress enough the importance of having your child evaluated by an orthodontist by age 7. If your child recently

Image courtesy of American Association of Orthodontists

Image courtesy of American Association of Orthodontists

turned 7, call to get that evaluation scheduled.

This is a key age because your child has a good mix of baby and adult teeth, and the bite is established. You might feel comforted to know that frequently, no treatment is needed at this stage. It is more common that we will place your child in our growth guidance program called the Kids Club.

But here’s why this initial evaluation is important: In cases where the evaluation reveals an orthodontic issue, there are many treatment approaches at our disposal that can be used to correct the problem conservatively and reduce the potential for tooth extractions and even surgery in the future.

If no treatment is required, members of our Kids Club will continue to come in for checkups once or twice a year so we can monitor their oral health, the eruption of the teeth, and identify the best time to initiate treatment, if necessary.

Anytime Evaluation
Let’s say you are an adult who never went through orthodontic treatment as a child, or you had treatment but your teeth relapsed. It’s never too late and you’re never too old to achieve a beautiful smile. We use National Orthodontic Health Month to remind grownups of this important fact.

Teeth that are properly aligned are easier to keep clean and healthy. Schedule an evaluation with an orthodontist if you’re self-conscious about your smile and you would like more information on how you can improve it.

Avoid Terrifying Treats This Halloween
Our office tends to get busy in the weeks leading up to and following Halloween, thanks to those sticky, chewy treats many of our patients indulge in and end up damaging their orthodontic appliances as a result. A key part of National Orthodontic Health Month is educating patients who are in treatment about how to avoid those mishaps, which can delay the completion of their treatment.

One way we attempt to remove the temptation during this month-long observation is by offering our annual Candy Buy Back. I’ll share more information on this program with you in a few days. Be sure to visit our blog for that exciting information. But in a nutshell, we offer an opportunity for patients to donate the sticky, chewy taffies, caramels and other candies that can damage braces, rather than give in to temptation and eat them. We reward them for their donations, too.

Eat This, Not That
Halloween is a time to indulge in sweet treats, and we’re not saying that patients must avoid all types of candies. Sweets that are safe for braces include chocolate bars, candy-coated chocolate pieces, ice cream, pudding, and fresh-baked cookies, brownies and cakes, to name a few examples.

There are some fun recipes deemed braces-safe that you might want to try this season. The American Association of Orthodontists rounded up these, which are worth sampling:

Scary Skull and Ghastly Ghost Cookies

Mummy Pizza Biscuits

Spooky Spider Web Bean Dip

Parents, you can help us celebrate National Orthodontic Health Month by reminding your children to avoid those candies that will harm their braces. But if your youngsters sneak a Snickers or chomp a Chunky bar and damage their appliances, please call our office immediately to schedule an appointment so we can get that fixed.

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