Valentine’s Day is full of temptation. Sugar is the number one ingredient in the treats we use to celebrate the romantic holiday and is the least beneficial for your teeth. Whether you are single or taken, you can give your teeth the love and affection they have been craving. Embracing healthier sweet options and avoiding the bad treats will guarantee a picture perfect smile.

Studies show that sugar is the main cause of cavities and infection in the mouth. By making a few simple swaps, you can satisfy your sweet tooth while still avoiding the types of sugar that are worst for your teeth. You can snack on nutritious options for your oral care routine and still satisfy your taste buds.

  1. Dark chocolate is the answer.
  2. Avoid hard and sticky candy.
  3. Moderation is key.  
Dark chocolate is a great way to enjoy Valentine's Day without sacrificing your oral health.

1. Dark chocolate is the answer.

The sweet treat is known for improving heart health,but dark chocolate is also full of benefits for your teeth and decreases risk of tooth decay. Studies show that the cocoa bean contains valuable nutrients and minerals to prevent cavities. Cavities form when teeth are not cleaned properly and bad bacteria forms acid that wears down enamel. Dark chocolate is easily dissolved and does not linger in your mouth like most other sweets. This allows the chocolate to easily wash off your teeth.

According to a study by Osaka University, “Japanese scientists found that chocolate is less harmful than many other sweet foods because the antibacterial agents in cocoa beans offset its high sugar levels.”

Dark chocolate is packed with strong antioxidants to prevent plaque such as polyphenols, flavonoids, and tannins. These antioxidants help prevent periodontal disease. This disease is an infection of the bone, gums, and tissue around the teeth when plaque starts to buildup from bacteria in the mouth.

  • Polyphenols limit detrimental bacteria growth and prevent acid forming on the surface of your teeth. Also, polyphenols decrease bad breath.
  • Flavonoids are known to lower blood pressure and prevent tooth decay.
  • Tannins prevent bad bacteria from sticking to the teeth and contain anti-inflammatory properties that combat against gum disease.

Minerals in dark chocolate include magnesium, zinc, phosphorous, and iron. They provide even more benefits to your pearly whites:

  • Magnesium found in the cocoa bean hardens tooth enamel and makes the teeth tough.
  • Zinc prevents plaque and tartar from forming on teeth and the gum line.
  • Iron makes enamel strong and prevents gum disease.

Cocoa powder is proven to help repair teeth and even prevent tooth sensitivity. Dark chocolate that contains a high percentage of cocoa is the best choice due to the many benefits raw cocoa permits for the mouth. At least 70% cocoa is recommended for oral health.

According to a study by Harvard University, “Dark chocolate contains 50-90% cocoa solids, cocoa butter, and sugar, whereas milk chocolate contains anywhere from 10-50% cocoa solids, cocoa butter, milk in some form, and sugar.”

The research makes it clear that dark chocolate is a healthier choice than milk chocolate. Milk chocolate contains less cocoa and more sugar, making this option completely unhealthy for your teeth.

Also, dark chocolate is not a substitute for veggies, fish, and cheese. These super rich nutritious foods should be the spotlight of your diet for oral health.

Hard and sticky candies are everywhere on Valentine's Day-- but you won't love the effect they an have on your teeth.

2. Avoid hard and sticky candy.

Sweets that contain a high content of sugar cling on the teeth for a long period of time and are very harmful for oral health. The faster the sweet can dissolve in your mouth, the easier it is to rinse away the left over debris.

Hard candy can chip or break your teeth. Any sweet that is tough to bite into is very dangerous and not worth the dental risk. Be careful and choose soft foods that are full of nutrients and not just packed with sugar.

Sticky sweets get stuck in between the teeth and are hard to remove once stuck to the tooth and gums. The candy is harder to break down with your saliva and tends to stay in the mouth for an unhealthy length of time.

Just like anything else, it's okay to have Valentine's Day sweets in moderation-- just don't go overboard!

3. Moderation is key.

The more sugar you eat, the more chances you have of tooth decay. Limiting sugar consumption is ideal when it comes to your oral health. Avoiding added sugars that are not found naturally in foods is crucial to the health of your teeth.

According to the American Heart Association, “For most American women, this is no more than 100 calories per day and no more than 150 calories per day for men (or about 6 teaspoons per day for women and 9 teaspoons per day for men).”  

Dark chocolate is still high in calories and is healthy in moderation. One to two ounces of dark chocolate a day is recommended in order to accomplish the best oral hygiene.

Follow these tips to make sure your sugary Valentine's Day sweets don't stop you from smiling!

Valentine’s Day is a time to celebrate sentimental moments with loved ones and your teeth need extra love to help protect them from tempting unhealthy sweets. Taking care of your smile can be challenging when you have a sweet tooth. You can eat the healthiest options and still appease your cravings.

How do you plan to protect your teeth from sugary sweets this Valentine’s Day?