When it comes to Valentine’s Day desserts, many of us don’t think about how the goodies we give our sweethearts might affect their teeth. Tooth decay and cavities certainly aren’t very romantic. But don’t worry, that’s why you have Dr. Mullins – even on Valentine’s Day, he’s thinking about your teeth!
Every day, the team at My Family Dentistry sees the damage that can occur when the wrong foods are combined with poor dental hygiene habits. You can still give sweets to your sweet this February 14th; just keep your sweet treats to the things on this list to protect your loved one’s smile.
Tooth-Friendly Candies and Chocolates
When it comes to Valentine’s Day desserts, candy and chocolates take the cake! Over 8 billion conversational heart candies are produced each year, and nearly 60 million pounds of chocolate are sold during Valentine’s week alone.
If your valentine has dental restorations, crowns, or fillings, you may want to avoid hard or very sticky candies. Crunching down on a red hot or chewing a sticky toffee can crack or damage delicate teeth. But good news – the softer conversation hearts should be just fine!
If it’s chocolate your sweetheart wants, there are a few tips you can follow to avoid damage.
Believe it or not, chocolate is relatively safe for your teeth. It melts quickly, and the saliva in your mouth rinses most of it away, so it doesn’t cling to the enamel of your teeth. Don’t forget that the darker the chocolate, the lower the sugar, and the more of an antioxidant punch it packs along with its tasty goodness!
Many chocolates contain nuts, which add protein and may help clean teeth – but be careful of harder nuts like almonds, which could crack weak teeth. Avoid chocolates with sticky fillings like caramel, nougat, and jelly, which stick to the teeth for longer and can even pull on crowns and restorations.
So this Valentine’s Day, consider trading in the nutty caramel chocolates for a fancy bar of dark chocolate!
Fruity Valentine’s Day Desserts
For a romantic Valentine’s Day dessert, top shortcake or angel food cake with fresh strawberries and whipped cream. Strawberries can even whiten teeth! Just be sure to choose a natural whipped cream with low sugar content, or even whip it yourself if you’re feeling ambitious and want to impress your partner!
Arrangements made from fresh fruit are also gaining popularity, and many even include chocolate-dipped strawberries and other romantic treats. This Valentine’s Day, consider trading in the flowers and candies for fresh fruit you can enjoy together.
Baking with Less Sugar
If you’re baking a homemade dessert for your sweetheart, there are a few things you can do to reduce sugar and minimize the potential damage to teeth.
Look for recipes that substitute applesauce for extra sugar in baked goods. Not only can this reduce the calories and sugar in your cakes and cookies, but it makes them extra moist and even more delicious!
You can also experiment with sugar substitutes, fruit juices, and other alternative sweeteners, especially in pies. If you must have sugar, try an angel food cake, pound cake, or other cake that doesn’t need a frosting or glaze.
Whatever Valentine’s Day dessert you choose, the most important thing is to follow a healthy dental hygiene plan. If you have fillings or restorations, watch out for things that can damage your teeth. If you drink lots of water and brush and floss regularly, a little Valentine’s Day indulgence won’t cause hurt your smile – just enjoy everything in moderation and remember to schedule your regular cleanings at My Family Dentistry every 6 months!
What are your favorite healthy desserts? Tell us in the comments!
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