Valentine’s Day and Dental Health

If you pay much attention to radio or television, it’s easy to start believing that Valentine’s Day is less about love and more about chocolate. From chocolate kisses and chocolate fondue to chocolate-covered berries and the signature heart-shaped box of chocolates, sugary sweets have become virtually synonymous with the holiday. Before you overindulge on sticky sweets, however, it’s best to consider your dental health.

The Impact of the Sweet Stuff

Because they tend to stick between teeth, sticky sweets provide a rich source of fuel for cavity-causing bacteria. While other types of foods tend to wash away as we produce saliva, chocolate, caramel and nougat can cling to our teeth all day. This gives bacteria a steady supply of food, which inevitably leads to acidic, cavity-causing waste.

While it might not be the end of the world to indulge in a few chocolates over a holiday, many people have difficulty limiting themselves. A full day of careless candy consumption can also knock us off track, causing us to continue overindulging days, weeks or months after a holiday ends. Not only is this bad for your waistline, it can mean more trips to your local dentist. Sticky sweets can have a serious impact on your teeth, especially if you are undergoing orthodontic treatment such as braces or retainers.

Focusing on Alternatives

Above all else, it’s important to remember that Valentine’s Day is supposed to be about more than diamonds or chocolate. Instead of tempting your sweet with cavity-causing treats, consider making plans to do something fun and memorable.

If you do plan to allow yourself a few sweet treats, make sure to eat a healthy, filling meal first, so you will be less likely to consume large quantities of candy. You should also limit your candy consumption to one or two servings, instead of snacking on sugary sweets several different times throughout the day.

After eating something sticky or sweet, wait about 30 minutes for your saliva to naturally wash away some of the food particles. Then, rinse your mouth with water and give your teeth a thorough brushing. If the candy was sticky, consider flossing between teeth to eliminate any residue that may be wedged between your teeth.

No matter how you choose to spend your Valentine’s Day, remember that it is okay to indulge, but keep your dental health in mind by scheduling your dental checkup at a Gentle Dental near you.