Valentine’s Day is the sweetest day of the year -literally! The day of love brings with it the overconsumption of sugary candy and sweets as celebrations take place in classrooms across the country. Kids often exchange candy and sweet treats at school and may receive treats from meaningful neighbors, church members, and family members. Children enjoy Valentine’s Day as much or more than adults but unfortunately, all those sweet treats and chocolate candy can be harmful to kids.
All of this candy is a nice surprise to children who love them so much, but parents know the cold, hard truth: sweets can cause cavities and tooth decay. Too much sugar deteriorates the teeth, but with the following tips, your children can celebrate Valentine’s Day with friends and family without worry.
1. Check Treats
Let your children know that you need to check their candy before it is eaten at school. They should bring home all the candy they receive at school, church, or other locations before they eat anything. This may sound a bit harsh to some parents, but it allows them to monitor better the type and amount of candy and sweets their child eats. Everyone knows that candy is a big part of this holiday. Your children can enjoy a few sweet treats, so long as it is kept to a minimum.
2. Proper Teeth Care
Many parents encourage brushing after their child eats sweet treats. In normal circumstances, this is the right idea. While parents mean well, this actually damages the teeth more because the brushing combined with stickiness from the candy can erode the enamel. Instead, children should drink a glass of water immediately after eating candy or other sweet treats. This flushes the debris from the teeth, reducing the risk of plaque buildup and tooth decay.
3. Alternative Treats
Chocolate candy, heart-shaped candy, and other sweet treats make their rounds on Valentine’s Day. Offer your child a couple of pieces of candy, but offer alternative treats as well. With a bit of creativity, you can add Valentine’s Day themes to any healthy treat of your choice. A few ideas include:
- Sugar-free cookies cut into heart shapes
- Fruit cut into bouquets
- Heart-shaped sandwiches
- Cheese and veggies cut into heart shapes
A Valentine’s Day school lunch can also help incorporate healthy alternatives into the day while maintaining the love theme. Use creative packaging like heart-shaped treat bags and cookie cutters to dress up your child’s Valentine’s Day school lunch.
Parents must remember to allow their children to have fun and enjoy some sugar, especially on a day like Valentine’s. The day of love deserves a few sweets to go with it! But, it should be done in moderation with children consuming a reasonable amount of sugar. With the tips on this list, parents can give their children fun and good oral health!