Protect Your Smile Against Sugary Valentine Candy

Hearts (Explored!)Valentine’s Day in all of its sticky and gooey sugary goodness will be here soon! Unfortunately, all of that chocolate hearts can be terrible for your teeth. Dentist in Newberg, OR Dr. Jennifer McLeod and her team at Newberg Family Dental wish all patients a Happy Valentine’s Day and offer these simple ways to protect your smile!

Stick With Chocolate

Just in case it might be unrealistic to expect that we will avoid candy altogether on Valentine’s Day, here are some types of candy to enjoy and avoid.

  • Enjoy Dark Chocolate – In moderation, dark chocolate can be an wonderful treat for the holiday. It contains antioxidants and is less sweet than chocolate counterparts. It also doesn’t stick to the surfaces of teeth.
  • Enjoy Powdery Candy -Powdery candy, like what comes in Pixie Sticks, tends to bypass the teeth altogether as children pour the contents straight down their throats.
  • Avoid Sticky  and Chewy Candy – These varieties, such as caramels or Laffy Taffy, tend to “stick” around the surfaces of the teeth for a long time, causing tooth decay.
  • Avoid Hard Candy – While suckers and other varieties of hard candy are popular, they also give teeth a sugar bath. This also leads to tooth decay, especially when teeth aren’t brushed for awhile after.

Set Candy Boundaries

Grazing isn’t good for us in general, especially when it comes to candy. Give yourself and the rest of your family boundaries when it comes to when and where to eat the Valentine’s Day candy. Allow a certain amount during the holiday itself, then parcel out the rest over the next few days. Hide leftovers in the freezer to make it more difficult to both find and eat – out of sight, out of mind.

Try Candy Alternatives

There are many reasons to totally avoid Valentine candy, including good dental health. Instead of providing kids, friends and family with run-of-the-mill candy, try something more fun and unusual for the holiday.

  • Sugar free gum or candy made with xylitol are delicious substitutes for the full-sugar versions.
  • Create a family dinner made from a variety of foods cut or made into heart shapes – toast, pancakes, eggs, jello, fruit leather, meatloaf, hamburgers, and more!
  • Offer up fun, inexpensive toys, like pencil top erasers, stickers, temporary tattoos, lip gloss, small bottles of bubbles, or containers of Playdoh.

Brush and Floss the Sugar Away!

Regardless of what you and your family eat and drink on Valentine’s Day, don’t forget to brush and floss as soon as you’re done. Teach kids to floss 2 times a day for 2 minutes each time, along with how to correctly floss once during the day.

If for some reason you can’t brush and floss directly after eating, rinse your mouth out well with water to remove the sugary residue from the surfaces of your teeth. Another way to avoid going back for more candy is to rinse with mouthwash if possible.

Newberg dentist Dr. Jennifer McLeod and her team wish all patients and their families a very Happy Valentine’s Day! Come add to your fun celebration by coming in to see us at Newberg Family Dental. Call (503) 538-7717 for your appointment.

Photo Credit: Creative Commons License qthomasbower via Compfight