Chocolate and love have an enticing fragrance. Yes, Valentine’s Day is coming up, and there will be plenty of chocolates to go around. The size of candy aisles in stores has increased, with everything from giant chocolate hearts to sticky gummy pleasures. Valentine’s Day seems to be the unofficial start of months of candy binges, as we gradually eat our way through sweet delights until the last Easter Peep has been finished off.
Please don’t get us wrong. We, too, appreciate delicacies. However, we wouldn’t be your favorite San Antonio Orthodontist if we didn’t also warn you about the dangers of sugar on your child’s (and your) teeth. Don’t worry, though. We’ve got you covered. We’ll tell you which Valentine’s Day candy is healthiest for your teeth and how to avoid getting too much sugar in your system.
Cavities arise when bacteria in your mouth break down sugar and produce acid, eroding your teeth’s enamel. This deterioration eventually results in tooth decay and cavities.
Candy, like any other food, coats your teeth and gums with sugar. While saliva is helpful in removing part of it, it won’t get rid of everything…especially the sticky, chewy, gummy stuff. Suckers and hard candies are also tough on your teeth since they stay in your mouth for a long time and regularly press on the same teeth. Microorganisms in the mouth will feed on sugar and harm the tooth if it lingers on the teeth.
We recognize that we won’t be able to persuade the entire world to give up candy, but we can encourage our parents to limit their intake and make smart choices. The sort of sweets as well as the time they are served are crucial. We don’t want to take away from the fun. All we want to do is make sure that all the fun doesn’t lead to tooth decay! So, how can you choose the best Valentine’s Day sweets for your teeth?
1) Choose the right kind of sweets. Soft chocolates that melt quickly and are easily removed from teeth are the best choices. Sticky, firm, or gummy confectionery that sticks to your teeth for an extended period of time should be avoided.
2) Candy should only be eaten as a dessert after a meal. This will not only increase your chances of drinking water and rinsing away some of the sugar, but it will also prevent your teeth from being bombarded with sugar all day.
3) Hydrate. Drink plenty of water after each snack to help flush out the sugar. Staying hydrated also helps to increase saliva production, which is vital for washing away sugar and bacteria and maintaining dental health.
4) Brush and floss but wait a few minutes before doing so. It’s a good idea to brush your teeth after consuming sweet foods. Washing teeth that have already been weakened by acid attacks, which occur every time you eat, is not recommended. After a half-hour wait, brushing allows minerals to re-deposit on the enamel and the pH of your mouth to normalize.
5) Sealants. Dental sealants are a tried-and-true method of cavity prevention that coat teeth with a thin, protective layer that keeps bacteria and food away. Sealants are particularly effective at keeping sugar and bacteria out of molar fissures and other difficult-to-reach teeth.
6) Don’t forget about snacks that aren’t candy. We’re not saying you can’t have candy hearts and chocolate to celebrate, but make sure candy isn’t the majority of the awards. Remember that the finest Valentine’s Day sweets for your teeth are none. Regardless, we are human beings. And, every now and then, we all love a little chocolate and candy. Keep in mind that Valentine’s Day is only one day, not a whole month!