Just when you thought the holiday craziness was over, enter: Valentine’s Day! This celebration of love often comes with being showered with chocolate, candy, wine and other edible gifts. No, we’re not going to tell you that you can’t indulge in these tasty treats, but we do want you to be mindful of your consumption as well as how to maintain your oral health during this sweet time of year. While sugar is fine in moderation, eating sugar-rich food or candy too often can wreak havoc on your dental health. Frequently eating candy or other sugary goods can lead to tooth decay. The bacteria in your mouth use sugar to stick to your teeth and produce acids, leading to loss of minerals from tooth enamel and tooth destruction.
Here are some tips on how to take care of your dental health this Valentine’s Day and beyond:
- Choose chocolate? Try the dark variety! Dark chocolate has less sugar per serving than milk chocolate and other lighter varieties.
- Try to avoid or limit consumption of hard candies. This type of candy exposes the teeth to sugar for long periods of time and allows bacterial acids to dissolve tooth structure and damage your teeth.
- Do your best to refrain from snacking on candy throughout the day. Instead, limit consumption of candy or sweets to just a few times per day. What difference does this make? Frequent candy consumption does not allow saliva to neutralize the acids produced by plaque bacteria.
- If you’re an adult and legally able to consume alcoholic beverages, try to skip sugary mixers like sodas and juices to further limit the amount of sugar intake.
- Hydrate! Drinking water while consuming candy and other sweets as staying hydrated is the best option for preventing dry mouth and limiting bacteria.
- Try a healthier alternative to candy and chocolate! Whole fruit or nuts can be just as tasty and satisfying.
- If possible, brush with a fluoride toothpaste 30 minutes after you consume sweet treats.
Remember, at the end of the day, Valentine’s Day should be more about the smile that the loving relationships in your life put on your face than about the sweet treats you put into your mouth.
If you have any oral health or dental health questions, we are here and more than happy to answer them. Just contact us and we’ll be glad to help!