With the imminent approach of Valentine’s Day comes the over consumption of sugary foods. From chocolate covered peanut butter hearts to glittery iced pink snack cakes, Valentine’s Day treats are everywhere. Your children will receive more candy, chocolate, cookies and other love themed sweets than you can regulate from both other children and well meaning adults at school, church and family gatherings.
Of course sugary foods are tasty, and children enjoy the fun of giving and receiving these treats, and as a parent, you, of course, want your children to participate in and enjoy the holiday with their friends and classmates. But you should also be aware that that too much sugar is bad for your child’s teeth. As a pediatric dentist, we would like to offer you some sweet tips for watching your kids’ sugar intake this Valentine’s Day.
1. Be aware of the treats coming in.
If you can, ask your child to let you know what they receive or what they eat. It can be difficult to do this without coming across as too controlling, but it helps to let your child know that you want him to be healthy and take care of his teeth at the same time.
Some fairly common sugary foods that children are given at Valentine’s day include: frosted sugar cookies, glazed snack cakes, chocolates, gummy candy, hard candy and chewy, or sticky, candy.
2. Know how to care for teeth after eating sugar.
While you as a parent are fully aware that it is important for your child’s oral health that he brush his teeth, you may not know that brushing immediately after consuming candy is actually counterproductive.
When you brush your teeth right after eating sugary foods, you can damage your teeth by stripping away protective enamel. Instead, have your child rinse his mouth water after eating sugary foods. Then, wait around an hour before having your child brush his teeth.
3. Consider more healthy Valentine’s treats.
Of course candy is fun and exciting, but there are plenty of other fun ways to create Valentine’s Day treats that your child can enjoy to supplement the lack of sweets. Some fun and cute ideas you may want to incorporate for a child’s Valentine’s Day party or day at home:
- Heart shaped cheese cubes and veggie bites.
- Cookie cutter heart shaped sandwiches.
- Red fruits in a Valentine box or bowl.
- Fruit dipped in low sugar dark chocolate.
- Fried eggs cooked in a heart cookie cutter.
- Whole wheat heart pancakes topped with applesauce.
- Heart shaped frozen juice cubes in flavored seltzer.
You can also pack your child’s school lunch with Valentine’s Day themed foods that are healthy and nutritious. Use creative packaging to make healthy treats more fun with pink and red bags and heart themed wrappers. You can find fun, food safe packaging in most department and craft stores.
It’s important to remember that it is ok for your child to have some sugar. Let your kids enjoy Valentine’s Day and share a few reasonable sweet treats with their friends and family. But do monitor the amount of sugar they take in and remember to educate them on proper oral hygiene after indulging in sugar.
If you are concerned about your child’s teeth because of excessive sugar consumption, give us a call to set up an appointment. We are here to help you and your child experience and enjoy the best in quality pediatric dental care.