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Dental-friendly Halloween treats for those with braces

Halloween is the holiday of candy and more candy — which can wreak havoc for those kids (and adults) with braces. Does this mean your ghoulish evening must be treat-free if you or your kids have braces? No way! Check out these braces-friendly tips, tricks and recipes.

Spider bites

Halloween foods to avoid if you have braces

Generally any sticky, hard, chewy or crunchy foods should be limited or avoided. The American Association of Orthodontics recommends avoiding: caramel, nuts, licorice, jelly beans, hard pretzels, bubble gum, candy corn, lollipops, taco chips and ice. An off-limits treat now and then is acceptable but be sure to brush and floss afterwards and when it comes to hard, crunchy items, chew lightly.

Halloween foods you can eat if you have braces

Soft, easy-to-chew foods are acceptable Halloween treats. The American Association of Orthodontics suggests: melt-in-your-mouth-chocolates, peanut butter cups, milk shakes, gelatin, ice cream and sliced apples.

Brush and floss

You don’t want your dental health to be a scary affair, so be sure to brush and floss after your Halloween outings. This will dislodge any candy and other foods stuck in the braces (and is just good dental hygiene you should practice daily).

Dental-friendly Halloween recipes

Spider Bites

These creepy cookies are as fun to eat as they are to set out for hauntingly hungry guests. This recipe is adapted from The Braces Cookbook by Pamela Waterman. The spider legs are made from licorice; check with your orthodontist to see if these cookies are appropriate for your family.


  • 1 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 package black rope licorice, cut into thin 1-inch pieces
  • 1 small tube of white (or color of choice) frosting
  • Toothpicks


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine shortening, sugar, water and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Add eggs and blend.
  3. Slowly mix in flour, cocoa, salt and baking powder at low speed. Drop tablespoon helpings of mixture onto ungreased cookie sheets and roll each helping into a ball.
  4. Bake for 9 minutes. Let cookies cool for about 10 minutes.
  5. Using a toothpick, create four small holes in either side of each cookie, then push one end of a piece of the cut licorice into each hole, creating the “legs” of the spider.
  6. Once all eight legs are in place, create eyes or decorate at will using the white frosting.

Up next: More dental-friendly Halloween recipes >>

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