Next to Easter and Halloween, Valentine’s Day is one of the top holidays when it comes to consuming sugar. At times, it can seem like that’s what the entire day revolves around: large, heart-shaped boxes full of sticky sweets that you know your dentist would shake his head at.
Indulging is Alright Every Now and Then
As with anything that’s considered to be relatively unhealthy, moderation is key. It’s the same with fried foods and alcohol. Having sugar now and then isn’t going to make you suddenly start getting cavities. If your Valentine treats you to some sweets, try to go ahead and enjoy them within a couple of days’ time, then toss anything that’s left over.
Enjoy Your Treat with a Meal
You can reduce sugar’s impact on your teeth by having your Valentine’s candy with your meal, instead of in the middle of the afternoon. Here’s why: every time you eat, the natural sugars, carbohydrates, and other food particles break down and fuel bacteria in your mouth. Those bacteria then secrete acid byproducts, which eat away at tooth enamel for about 30 minutes. When you’re eating less frequently, you’re exposed to less acid. But snacking often throughout the day — like grabbing a candy every half hour as you sit at your desk — adds up to hours of extra acid exposure.
Still Concerned? Stick with Something Softer
Instead of solid sugar messenger hearts or caramel that sticks to your teeth for hours at a time, opt for a dental-savvy alternative: chocolate. Solid chocolate or chocolate-covered strawberries are better on your teeth, because it easily melts away.
Valentine Alternatives to Consider
Here are a few tips that you can keep in mind, if a huge box of chocolates isn’t what you’re going for:
- Encourage your children to bring non-edible Valentine gifts to share with their class, instead of candy.
- Plan a date night and dinner at your favorite restaurant.
- Give flowers and a handwritten card (it’s sweeter than sugar!)
Keep Teeth Strong Year Round
Make your smile more resistant to sugar, acid, and tooth decay by getting enough fluoride. Fluoridated toothpaste, mouth rinse, and treatments at our Milton, ON dental office keep teeth strong and reduce the chances of you getting cavities.
If You Feel a Jolting Pain
Sugar sensitivity is a red-flag for tooth decay. If you’re feeling any type of pain or a twinge in a specific area of your mouth, be sure to let our Milton, ON dental office know. Dr. Sarna can arrange to see you for an exam to determine what the pain is coming from, then make a plan to treat the cavity if that is indeed what is causing the irritation.
Hawthorne Village Dental Care is here to keep your smile sweet all year long. Practice moderation with your candy and be sure to schedule a dental checkup with us every six months.