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. Everything from large chocolate hearts to sticky gummy delights can now be found in store candy aisles. We consume sweet treats until the last Easter Peep has vanished, and Valentine’s Day looks to be the unofficial start of months of sugar consumption.
Please don’t misunderstand us. We enjoy delicacies as well. We wouldn’t be your favorite Houston dental office if we didn’t educate you about the effects of sugar on your child’s (and your) teeth. However, don’t be scared. You can count on us to be there for you when you need help. We’ll show you which Valentine’s Day candy is best for your teeth, as well as how to keep your sugar intake in check.
Cavities form when bacteria in your mouth convert sugar to acid, eroding the enamel of your teeth. Tooth decay and cavities are the result of this degeneration.
Sugar coats your teeth and gums in the same way that any other food does. Some of it will be helped by saliva, but not all of it…particularly 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 press against the same teeth repeatedly. Sugar feeds oral germs, which, if left on the teeth for too long, can contribute to tooth decay.
We understand that we won’t be able to persuade everyone to stop eating candy, but we can help our parents set boundaries and make educated decisions. Both the type of sweets provided and the amount of time they are given are critical. We don’t want to detract from the enjoyment. All that matters to us is that we don’t have cavities as a result of our binge-drinking! So, how can you know which Valentine’s Day treats are the most nutritious?
- Select appropriate treats for the occasion. The ideal option is soft chocolate, which melts rapidly and is easier to remove off your teeth. Sticky, firm, or gummy confectionery that sticks to your teeth for an extended period of time should be avoided.
- Candy should only be consumed as a dessert after a meal. This will boost your chances of drinking water and flushing sugar from your system, as well as preventing sugar from bombarding your teeth throughout the day.
- Hydrate. After each meal, drink plenty of water to help the sugar exit your system. Staying hydrated aids saliva production, which is necessary for the removal of sugar and bacteria as well as the maintenance of oral health.
- Brush and floss your teeth after a few minutes. Brushing your teeth after a sugary meal is a good idea. It is not advisable to wash teeth that have been harmed by acid attacks, which occur every time you eat. Brushing after 30 minutes allows minerals to re-deposit on the enamel and your mouth’s pH to return to normal.
- Sealants. Dental sealants are a cavity-prevention therapy that involves applying a thin, protective coating to the teeth in order to keep bacteria and food out. Sealants keep sugar and bacteria out of molar fissures and other hard-to-reach areas of the teeth.
- Don’t forget about the non-sugary alternatives. We’re not saying you can’t celebrate with candy hearts and chocolate, but don’t make candy the major prize. Remember that the perfect Valentine’s Day candy for your teeth does not exist. Regardless of the circumstances, we are all human beings. We all enjoy a bit of chocolate or some candy now and then. Remember, Valentine’s Day is just one day, not a month!