The Tell-Tale Tooth

Halloween will soon be upon us and costumed children will scurry about the neighborhood in search of their favorite sugary treats.  What is a much-anticipated time for kids is a dreaded time for orthodontists.

Sugary, sticky treats like caramels, gummy candy and chewy candy bars wreak havoc on orthodontic applibraces pumpkinances—breakingthe braces, bending the straightening wires and leaving behind a coating of sugar on the teeth.  These sugars feed the bacteria in the mouth and accumulate on the teeth as an impenetrable, sticky coating called plaque.  The bacteria in the plaque will make acids that eat away at the teeth.  If the plaque is not removed it will cause the tooth to start to “dissolve” or demineralize around the brace.  The tell-tale sign on the tooth is a white spot or halo under the plaque that appears around the brace.

Meticulous brushing, regular visits to your dentist, and a consultation with your hygienist is important during orthodontic treatment to prevent these unsightly permanent stains.

Local orthodontist Dr. Susan Lempert explains “We urge all our patients to follow an oral homecare regimen during treatment that involves removing bulk food debris with a water flosser machine, using a timed electric toothbrush to remove the plaque around the braces, cleaning under the gums with orthodontic dental floss and adding an additional brushing with a prescription fluoride paste each night.  We also encourage our patients to see the hygienist every 3-4 months during active orthodontic care.” 

For more detailed information on oral home care you can visit her website:

A few brace-friendly Halloween treats such as melt-in-your-mouth chocolates, peanut butter cups and the like are okay provided proper brushing ensues.

What to do with all the leftover Halloween candy?  Dr. Lempert will be collecting leftover Halloween candy in her Swedesboro office and donating it to Operation Gratitude an organization that sends the treats and toothbrushes to our soldiers abroad.   For more information visit her website at  All candy must be delivered to her office no later than Tuesday November 7th.

If you have concerns about your child’s bite, Dr. Lempert provides complimentary orthodontic screenings for children in her Swedesboro office.  You can visit her website at: to learn more about her practice.

Dr. Susan LempertAAO