Playtime Pediatric Dentistry would like to wish all your love bugs and loving families out there a happy Valentine’s day.
What is a Valentine’s Day without chocolates and candy? When I was young, I was so excited to get chocolate and candy grams from my friends. It is okay to eat sweets on special occasions. The key is to eat smart, so your loved ones do not get sugar bugs on this sweet day of love.
1. Stay Away from Sticky
Caramels, gummy bears, raisins and fruit leathers are all very sticky and stick to teeth. Even after brushing, they leave a thin film and sit on your teeth for days! Stick to fresh fruits, if you can. Chocolate covered strawberries are better than caramel filled chocolate. The perfect “pear”? “Grape” friends? I love this mom’s DIY Fruit Valentine’s.
2. Eat Fast. Eat All.
Did your little girl get 5 valentine’s? It is better to eat all 5 sweets in one sitting than eating one sweet at a time five times. Cavities are more likely to happen if there is frequent sugar exposure, not just a lot of sugar.
For about 30 minutes after you eat carbohydrates, bacteria uses sugar to produce acid. Teeth will break down if they are exposed to acid and sugar attacks all the time. For this reason, it is better to have sweets as part of meal, instead of a snack.
3. Water Cheese Gum
After eating something sweet, drink lots of water to wash down sugar on children’s teeth. Cheese, especially hard cheese, can neutralize acid in the mouth. Chewing gum, especially ones with Xylitol, helps clean the mouth, stimulate saliva flow and reduce bacteria.
4. Brush and Floss
Brush at least twice a day, morning and night. Use fluoridated toothpaste for extra protection against acid and sugar. Help your child floss every night.
5. Extra Special
If you are worried about cavities, have your child rinse their mouth with fluoride mouth rinse. Rinse for 30 seconds and spit out. Don’t eat or drink for 30 minutes for maximum benefit. We want fluoride to sit on teeth and make them super strong.
Dr. Ella Choi is a certified specialist in pediatric dentistry serving South Surrey, White Rock, Langley and Aldergrove in Beautiful British Columbia.