What Exactly Do Those Chalky Valentine's Heart Candies Do To Your Teeth?
With February in full swing and Valentine's candy -- be it eaten before or after the holiday -- everywhere in sight, it's a good time to take a look at what that candy does to your teeth. Of course, most of it will have similar effects to what Halloween or Christmas candy could do, but for Valentine's Day, you've got a special treat that doesn't appear at any other holiday: those candy hearts. They have their detractors, but they definitely have their fans, and if you're in that second group, read on; knowing what they do can help you care for your teeth a lot better during this season.
Coating and Caking
Candy hearts tend to stick to your teeth and gums when you chew them. They're not like caramels, where the entire glob stays stuck, but they leave layers of sugar over your entire mouth. You have to be careful about what you do in the time after eating the hearts if you want to both save your tooth enamel and prevent decay. As you eat the hearts, drink some water; at the very least, have some water after you're done eating. About a half hour later, if you can, brush your teeth. Don't brush right after eating the candy -- or any food, for that matter -- because your tooth enamel becomes a little more fragile in those moments after eating, enough for your toothbrush to scratch it. It takes about half an hour for your tooth enamel to return to normal and allow you to brush without adverse effects.
Those candy hearts aren't exactly rock hard, but you can get a few that need a little more jaw power. If you encounter one that doesn't want to split apart when you bite into it, hold off a bit and let it soften up. Even though you're not dealing with something completely unchewable, you can still end up hurting your jaw or your tooth if you bite the wrong way.
Also pay attention to what you're having with the candy hearts. Water is good; soda really isn't. Chocolate drinks are even worse. They're delicious, but sugary and thus can add to your potential for future cavity development.
Your dentist is aware that you'll likely eat some Valentine's Day candy and if you want, he or she will talk with you about how to keep your teeth in great shape when a holiday rolls around. It might be a good time to get your teeth cleaned, too, so take care of both by calling to set up an appointment.
Contact a group like Orange Door Dental Group to learn more.