The aroma of chocolate and love is seductive. Valentine’s Day will be here before we know it, and there will be plenty of chocolate to go around. Candy aisles in stores have grown in size, with everything from huge chocolate hearts to sticky gummy delights. Valentine’s Day appears to be the unofficial start of months of candy binges, as we eat our way through sweet treats until the last Easter Peep is gone.
Please don’t misunderstand us. We enjoy delicacies as well. We wouldn’t be your favorite Aubrey Pediatric Dental Practice if we didn’t also warn you about the dangers of sugar on your child’s (and your) teeth. But don’t be concerned. We’ve got your back. We’ll show you which Valentine’s Day candy is best for your teeth and how to prevent consuming too much sugar.
Cavities form when bacteria in your mouth break down sugar into acid, eroding the enamel of your teeth. Tooth decay and cavities are the outcome of this degradation.
Sugar coats your teeth and gums, just like any other meal. Saliva can help with some of it, but it won’t get rid of everything…especially the sticky, chewy, gummy stuff. Suckers and hard sweets are also hard on your teeth since they linger in your mouth for a long time and push on the same teeth on a frequent basis. Sugar feeds microorganisms in the mouth, which can destroy the tooth if it remains on the teeth for too long.
We understand that we won’t be able to persuade the entire world to give up candy, but we can encourage our parents to set limits and make informed decisions. The type of sweets given, as well as the time they are presented, are quite important. We don’t want to detract from the enjoyment. All we care about is avoiding dental decay as a result of all the enjoyment! So, how can you pick the most tooth-friendly Valentine’s Day treats?
1) Select the appropriate sweets. The finest selections are soft chocolates that melt rapidly and are easy to remove from teeth. Avoid sticky, hard, or gummy candy that adheres to your teeth for an extended amount of time.
2) Candy should be consumed only as a dessert following a meal. This will not only boost your chances of drinking water and flushing some of the sugar out of your system, but it will also keep your teeth from being bombarded with sugar throughout the day.
3) Hydrate. After each snack, drink plenty of water to help flush out the sugar. Staying hydrated also aids in the production of saliva, which is necessary for removing sugar and bacteria and preserving dental health.
4) Brush and floss your teeth, but do so after a few minutes. Brushing your teeth after eating sugary meals is a good idea. It is not advisable to wash teeth that have already been compromised by acid attacks, which occur every time you eat. Brushing after a half-hour wait allows minerals to re-deposit on the enamel and your mouth’s pH to return to normal.
5) Sealants. Dental sealants are a tried-and-true cavity-prevention technique that coats teeth with a thin, protective layer that keeps bacteria and food out. Sealants are especially good at keeping sugar and bacteria out of molar fissures and other hard-to-reach areas of the teeth.
6) Don’t forget about the non-candy snacks. We’re not saying you can’t celebrate with candy hearts and chocolate, but make sure candy doesn’t account for the majority of the prizes. Keep in mind that the best Valentine’s Day candy for your teeth is none. Whatever the case may be, we are all human beings. We all enjoy a little chocolate and candy every now and then. Remember, Valentine’s Day is only one day, not an entire month!