When you think your Valentine’s Day you probably think about couples, but it’s not just for couples. Valentine’s Day is the big day for kids as well. They send cards to classmates and end up with a lot of candy. This large amount of candy means endless sugar highs. All of that sugar can create some issues for teeth. Cavities and gum disease can creep up thanks to the sugar, but tips from a dentist can help. We’ll give you a few tips from a dentist to ensure your kids don’t end up with cavities after Valentine’s Day.

Limit the Amount of Candy Your Children Eat

Your child probably wants to snack on candy throughout the day and for days to come. All of that sugar allows bacteria to create acid and harm teeth. The continued exposure may lead to cavities. Realistically your child won’t brush their teeth every time they eat to stop the damage. Ideally, let your child eat candy one time on Valentine’s Day. Try to do it around mealtime if possible.

Think about donating extra candy after Valentine’s Day. This takes the candy out of your home and teaches your child the power of giving. Many children can’t afford candy and would love the chance to eat a few pieces. You get the added benefit of ensuring your kids don’t expose their teeth to sugar for days or weeks.

Type of Candy Makes a Difference

Avoid candies with fillings, taffy, gummy candies, and caramels. These chewy candies get stuck in teeth. Children may not brush well enough to get the candy out of their teeth. The stuck pieces of candy allow sugar to damage teeth. The sugar creates acid which leads to oral health problems. Your child may develop cavities quickly because of it.

Avoid things like lollipops that take a long time to eat. The longer it takes a child to eat the candy the more exposure to sugar. All that extra sugar time creates a bad environment for teeth. The extra sugar time leaves your kids more vulnerable to cavities. A tip from a dentist is to go with sugar-free lollipops and candy where possible.

Dark chocolate is a good option for candy. Dark chocolate contains less sugar than other types of candy. Many high-quality dark chocolates contain fewer additives than other kinds of candy, It also melts quickly, so there’s less exposure time. Dark chocolate doesn’t typically stick to teeth like other forms of candy. Make sure you go with a bar of chocolate instead of filled chocolates. Filled chocolates might contain chewy centers that cause more damage.

Brush Your Teeth

Your initial reaction might be to brush immediately, but a tip from a dentist is to either brush before or wait 30 minutes. Candy create an acidic environment for your teeth. This acidic environment weakens tooth enamel. If you brush too soon after eating, you may damage that tooth enamel. Right after you eat the ph in your mouth goes down to 3, which means it’s acidic. It takes about 30 minutes for the saliva in your mouth to bring the ph back to 7, which dentists consider a neutral state. Make sure you drink plenty water after eating candy to help clear out any remaining pieces in your mouth.

Brushing before a meal or in this case eating candy allows you to avoid damage to the enamel. According to RDH Magazine, you’ll remove plaque, which causes cavities and ensures your teeth stay healthy. When you remove plaque before a meal, you prevent acid from forming. Sugar works with plaque to create acid. When you get rid of the plaque sugar loses part of what it needs to create acid. Brushing before eating candy stops acid and prevents the damage it causes.

Avoid Candy Altogether If Possible

A good tip from a dentist is to give something other than candy. Try giving your children a bag full of small toys. Most kids love toys as much as candy and won’t miss eating candy. You can find toys that cost as much as candy, so your wallet won’t suffer.

Plan Your next Dentist Appointment

One of the best tips from a dentist is to make a dentist appointment right after Valentine’s Day. That way you can make sure your children’s teeth are clean after all of that sugar. The dentist will use special tools to remove any remaining candy and can help to fight cavities before they cause serious damage. They can also detect any cavities your child develops.

Use the tips from a dentist above to help keep your children’s teeth healthy. They will thank you later when they avoid cavities. Remember that moderation is always best when it comes to sugar. Try to buy sugar-free candy or high quality dark if possible.