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The Best Valentine's Day Candy for Your Teeth

Ahhh, the sweet smell of chocolate and love. Yes, Valentine’s Day is coming up and candy is everywhere. From giant chocolate hearts to sticky gummy treats, the candy aisles at the stores have tripled in size. Valentine’s Day seems to be the unofficial start to months of candy binges as we steadily eat our way through sugary treats until the last Easter Peep has been polished off.
 

Don’t get us wrong. We love treats, too. However, we wouldn’t be your favorite Anderson Pediatric Dentist if we didn’t send out a little warning about the damage that all this sugar is silently doing to your child’s (and your) teeth. But, don't worry. We've got you covered. We're going to tell you the best Valentine's Day candy for teeth and how you can lessen the damage of the sugar onslaught.
 

Cavities occur when bacteria in your mouth digest sugar and produce acid, which weakens the tooth enamel. Eventually, this weakening leads to tooth decay and cavities.
 

Sugar from candy, or any food, sits on the teeth and gums of your mouth. While saliva plays a crucial role in washing some of it away, it won’t get it all…especially the sticky, chewy, gummy stuff. Even suckers and hard candies are tough on your teeth, as they stay in your mouth for long periods of time, often resting against the same teeth for extended periods of time. Sugar remaining on the teeth becomes food for the bacteria in the mouth that will attack the tooth.
 

We know we won’t convince the world to do away with candy, but we do encourage our parents to limit the quantity and make wise choices. The timing of the candy matters, as well as the type. We don’t want to take away the fun. We just want to make sure all the fun doesn’t lead to cavities! So, how do you choose the best Valentine's Days candy for your teeth?
 

1) Choose the right stuff.  Soft chocolates that melt quickly and are easily washed off teeth are the best choices. Avoid sticky, hard, and gummy candies that will stay on the tooth for long periods.
 

2) Limit candy to after-meal treats. Not only does this increase the chance to drink water and wash away some of the sugar, but combining the sugar with a meal will mean that your tooth isn’t getting bombarded with straight sugar all day long.
 

3) Hydrate. Make sure that snacks are followed by water to help wash away the sugar. Staying hydrated also helps the mouth produce saliva, which is crucial for washing away sugar and bacteria and keep your mouth healthy.
 

4) Brush and Floss…but wait a few minutes to do it. It’s a great idea to brush your teeth after eating sweet treats. However, you want to make sure you are not scrubbing at teeth that are currently weakened by acid attacks, which happen each time you eat. Waiting half an hour to brush gives minerals a chance to redeposit on the enamel and the pH of your mouth to balance.
 

5) Sealants. Dental sealants are a proven method of protecting teeth from cavities by covering them with a thin, protective shield that blocks out germs and food. Sealants can be especially helpful in preventing sugar and bacteria from settling into the crevices of molars and hard to reach teeth.
 

6) Consider non-candy treats. We aren’t saying that you can’t celebrate with candy hearts and chocolate, but make the bulk of the treasures something besides candy. Remember, the best Valentine's Day candy for your teeth, is no candy. But, we are people, too. And we all love a little chocolate and candy. Just keep in mind that Valentine’s Day is one day- not a month long!
 

Anderson Pediatric Dentistry wishes all our patients a Happy Valentine’s Day. Remember to show your teeth some love, too. Brush twice and day and floss regularly! If you are looking for dental home for your child, give us a call at 864-760-1440 and let us give you Something to Smile About!

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