The message might be l-o-v-e on Valentine’s Day but we like to celebrate it with gifts that involve candy, sweets and treats. Americans spend over 340 million dollars on Valentine’s Day candy each year with over 8 billion candy hearts sold within the first 2 weeks of February. That’s a lot of sugar!

Expecting your kids (and yourself!) to avoid sweets this Valentine’s Day is unrealistic, but making healthier choices will help protect your teeth. Here’s a few do’s and don’ts to follow to show your teeth some love this holiday.

DO: Enjoy healthy, heart-shaped snacks.

Get in the spirit of Valentine’s Day the healthy way and even have some fun by ditching the usual sweets. A few ideas for kid (and adult) friendly snacks:

  • Dark chocolate-dipped fruit on a stick: Bananas, pineapple, cherries, strawberries, etc.
  • Heart-shaped strawberries
  • Sweetheart yogurt parfaits
  • Heart-shaped stacked sandwiches
  • Heart-shaped pancakes
  • Raspberries filled with mini dark chocolate chips
  • Mini heart-shaped pizzas
  • Grilled, heart-shaped mozzarella and tomato sandwiches

Want to take it up a notch? Check out these creative and nutritious Valentine’s Day treat ideas:

DON’T: Choose sticky, hard candies or low-quality chocolate

All those sweet, sour and sticky candies may taste great, but these treats are known to damage teeth. Sour candies can be acidic to your teeth and actually wear down the enamel that protects them, leading to tooth decay and cavities. The worst offenders include gummy bears, jelly beans, tootsie rolls and lollipops.

DO:  Limit the sweets.

If you are going to indulge in sweets, your best bet is chocolate. Choose a high-quality brand that is 50% or more cocoa which has a higher purity level and is free from the additives that do the most damage to your teeth. Opt for softer treats such as peanut butter cups or bakery items.

DON’T: Forget to brush & floss!

After enjoying sweets, make sure to show your teeth some tender loving care. Brush and floss between your teeth, around the brackets and at the gum line. Don’t forget that your tongue carries bacteria as well and needs to be brushed from the back to the front and bottom to top!

You CAN have a “sweet” Valentine’s Day while still keeping your oral health in mind. Try one of our healthier snack ideas above and make this a February 14th that you won’t forget!

Give your teeth the best Valentine’s Day gift of all and call our office at (562) 434-6414 to schedule your bi-annual checkup!