Even though it feels as if New Years just occurred yesterday, Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. And with it comes a fresh round of sweet tooth temptations. From the candied hearts at the grocery checkout counter to the heart-shaped box of bonbons, Valentine’s Day has become synonymous with sweetness, one way or another. Below, we offer some tips on how you can combat the Valentine’s Day sugar trap.
Avoid Hard or Sticky Candies
Hard candies, like the beloved candied hearts, represent a catch-22 from an oral health perspective. Suck on them for long periods of time and harsh sugars activate the bacteria in your mouth and wear down your enamel. On the other hand, crunching them down risks structure damage in the form of broken or cracked teeth.
Sticky candies, such as caramels and toffees, get stuck between braces or teeth and lead to plaque build-ups. Plus, they’ve also been known to pull a tooth out of its setting.
The good news is that dark chocolate is most harmless of all Valentine’s Day candy treats. It’s soft on teeth and may combat plaque when eaten in moderation.
Focus on Time Management
Whether you’re facing just one piece of candy (hopefully) or a pile (hopefully not), the best practice is to consume it quickly after a meal. Why? Because your saliva flow is higher after a meal and it helps to wash the sugars away. Conversely, sipping soda or chewing candy all day keeps the acid levels in the mouth high and allows bacteria to eat away at teeth all day long.
Another best practice is to rinse with water after consuming your Valentine’s treat. This will also help wash away the sugars and the fluoride in the water will give your enamel a helpful boost.
Don’t Skip the Check-Up
With dates and parties increasing around this time, it’s easy to put off your dentist visit to a later date. Try to avoid this temptation as well! Keeping your regularly scheduled check-up will help prevent small problems from growing into expensive treatments. Plus, a good cleaning and polishing will go a long way toward keeping your teeth bright, white, and healthy.