Valentine’s Day is known for more than just dates and roses. Chocolate plays a large role in the annual tradition, and stores and shops take full advantage of this. However, not all chocolate goes into the hands of a date; children are the less commonly realized benefactors of Valentine’s Day. All that discounted chocolate can be a sugary wonderland for your child!
Chocolate and Teeth
What’s the big deal with chocolate and teeth anyway? It mainly has to do with the sugar content found in chocolate more than anything else. Tooth decay and enamel breakdown due to sugar is caused by a series of steps and pathways, and is more complicated than most people realize. Sugar itself doesn’t have any direct impact of tooth decay. However, lots of sugar and other simple carbohydrates puts the “bad” bacteria in your mouth into a feeding frenzy, and lets them quickly multiply out of control. It’s the sudden explosion of harmful bacteria that results in increased rates of tooth decay. So, in summary, chocolate by itself is not going to have any major impact on teeth, but certainly has a drastic indirect impact, and that’s why we need to be concerned.
Know Your Chocolate
There are hundreds of different brand names for chocolate out there, each of them boasting a different recipe with various ingredients. When looking for the best chocolate to buy from a dental perspective, you’ll want to avoid those with a high sugar content. Look instead for chocolates with higher cocoa content, such as dark chocolate. Understandably, not all children will be too pleased if you come home arms loaded with bitter dark chocolate. For the sugar lovers, milk chocolate is the next most likely choice. Try to avoid chocolates that contain a sticky caramel or toffee center, as these substances will easily stick onto teeth and hang around far longer than you want them to. White chocolate, having the highest sugar content, is best to be avoided.
Once your child has finished announcing their love for chocolate by indulging in excessive amounts of it, make sure they partake in a thorough tooth brushing. The less time that the sugar spends on teeth, the less of an effect it will have. Taking proper care of teeth after Valentine’s Day is just as important as taking care of them anytime else!
Do you have a child who, despite our warnings, is in need of a cavity filling? Never fear, Bow Trail Dental is here to help. Give us a call at 403-240-1257 today to set up an appointment!