Heart and M&Ms Valentine’s Day will be here in just a few days, threatening the teeth of children everywhere as they are surrounded with sugary snacks. Pediatric dentists Dr. G and Dr. Mo at Must Love Kids Pediatric Dentistry encourage parents to use these simple tips to help protect their children’s teeth this Valentine’s Day!

Know What Candy to Avoid

Believe it or not, there are some varieties of Valentine candy on the market that are worse for teeth than others. Lollipops and similar hard candies, for example, essentially bathe your  child’s teeth in a bath of sugar, giving bacteria more opportunity to create the acid that erodes teeth and leads to cavities. Candy that is overly sticky or chewy – like caramel – is difficult to remove and tends to “stick” around, causing decay.

Instead, consider providing chocolate as a delicious Valentine’s Day treat. In moderation, dark chocolate especially is better than other forms of candy, especially if it is high quality. Help protect your child’s teeth by offering a portion of chocolate to celebrate this lovely holiday.

Limit the Candy

Once kids bring home their special Valentine boxes full of candy, it’s time to sort through it and set some aside. Portion out some that the kids can eat that day, preferably shortly after a meal full of protein and vegetables to help balance out the sugar shock. Set boundaries with your children concerning the rest of the candy stash, portioning out a bit of it each day. After a couple of days, donate the candy or hide it in the freezer where the kids won’t find it – out of sight, out of mind.

Avoid Valentine Candy Altogether

Considering how much candy and other sweets your children will be surrounded with during the course of the school day, it might not be necessary to provide them with any extra. Instead, consider avoiding candy and other sweets, providing a number of fun treats:

  • Comic books make good gifts for Valentine’s Day
  • Favorite superhero movies or figures
  • Temporary tattoos or stickers
  • Bottles of bubbles
  • Sugar free bubble gum
  • Lip gloss, containers of playdoh, or pencil top erasers

Whether they are themed for the season or not, any of these gifts will be appreciated by children and will help balance out all of that candy.

Brush and Floss Away the Sweet Stuff

Regardless of how long the Valentine candy sticks around, it’s important to keep up good daily dental habits with your children. Help them to brush all surfaces of their teeth, once in the morning and once before bed. Don’t forget to floss with your kids once a day, getting the floss down where the teeth meet the gumline to get the plaque that the toothbrush can’t reach.

Happy Valentine’s Day from Vancouver pediatric dentists Dr. G, Dr. Mo and the team at Must Love Kids Pediatric Dentistry! Call us at 360-450-2999 to schedule your next appointment.

Photo Credit: Robert Fornal via Compfight