Be Mine (and Be Careful With Your Pearly Whites, Too)

When it comes to the consumption of candy during American holidays, Valentine’s Day ranks fourth after Halloween, Easter and Christmas. An astounding 58 million pounds of chocolate is sold during the week of February 14, so those who are conscientious about their oral health should beware of the perils of tooth decay during this time of year.

Here at Smiles Dental, we still want you to enjoy your sweet moments with your valentine, so we’ve provided a few tips so you can enjoy your holiday while also being careful about tooth decay.

Go dark! — Believe it or not, dark chocolate has many health benefits and is actually an antioxidant super-food. Even more surprising still, there are some studies from Japan, England and the U.S. which suggest that chocolate is effective at fighting cavities, plaque and tooth decay!

All things in moderation. — As with most things in life, moderation is the key to helping you maintain good oral health. Sure, you can enjoy a dessert or a few pieces of candy every once in a while, as long as you know when to stop and how often you can eat it.

Brush up on your dental health! — It is imperative that you brush your teeth at least twice a day — for two minutes per brushing session — or even after every meal, if possible. Remember, you don’t have to brush all your teeth … only the ones you want to keep.

Floss is the boss! — Many people don’t realize how crucial it is to floss once a day, every single day. If you want to keep your gums happy and healthy, you must floss once daily, preferably right before bedtime.

Certain chewing gum can be helpful. — You can enjoy an occasional piece of gum or breath mint if it contains Xylitol, which has been proven to reduce tooth decay. Be careful not to chew gum for too long as it can potentially exasperate TMJ symptoms.

Water is life. — Be sure to always drink plenty of water, and if you can’t brush, try rinsing with water after meals. This helps to rinse away food particles, and keeping hydrated is great for fresh breath.

Come and see us! — And of course, it goes without saying, see your dentist for cleanings and exams on a regular basis and call immediately if you have any pain or suspect a problem with your oral health.

A note about the author: This blog article was written by Dr. Cheryl Cooper of Smiles Dental – Salem. Dr. Cooper is a seasoned dental professional with 19 years of experience. She completed her dental degree at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and then completed her Advance Education in General Dentistry residency at the University of Nebraska. Dr. Cooper and her husband, Sean, reside with their two boys in Salem, Oregon. They are active in Boy Scouts and at the Salem First Christian Church.