Valentine's Day Treats Ranked from Worst to Best
Happy Valentine's Day!
After Halloween, Valentine's Day is probably the next best thing for the sugar-addicted! For your teeth...not so much. But we're not here to lecture you (today, anyway :D), we're here to find creative solutions that will give you a chance to celebrate with loved ones, but at the same time, not put your oral health in a compromising situation.
Here is our list of Valentine's Day Treats - ranked from worst to best (for your teeth)...But if we're totally honest, it's really more of a "bad-for-your-teeth" list, a "sort-of-good-for-your-teeth" list and a "good-for-your-teeth" list. This general distinction will be fairly obvious - but in terms of whether one "bad" item is actually "worse" for your teeth than another is probably more on the subjective side and really dependant on a particular product's ingredients:
Toffee/Caramel-ly Treats that stick to your teeth like glue are one of the worst things you can subject your teeth to. Not only are they loaded with processed sugar (which bacteria in your mouth turn into acids and break down your enamel), but the fact that they stick themselves to your teeth is a whole other level of making sure your teeth get decay.
Gummy Candies are similar to toffees, in that they have that ultra-sticky-glue-to-your-teeth factor. Not significantly better than toffees, but in my opinion, perhaps a touch easier to remove than the latter.
Hard Candies are terrible especially if you bite on them. This can lead to cracking or chipping of your teeth. If you do not bite on them, but just allow them to slowly dissolve in your mouth, you're exposing your teeth to sugars for a longer period of time, which, if taken regularly can lead to more rampant decay. But, they might be slightly better than toffee or gummy candies simply because they don't glue to one area of your tooth and become super difficult to remove.
Cake/Cupcakes are usually filled with processed sugars and are often topped with icing sugar. When it mixes with saliva during the chewing process, sometimes it becomes a sticky mixture and can adhere to teeth. It doesn't have quite the sticking power as gummies and/or toffee, but cake is often consumed in greater amounts than single candies, so it might be a good idea to limit intake of cake.
Dark Chocolate also exists on a spectrum of being 'ok' for you to actually being fairly good for you. For the keener, go for 90% dark or higher and sugar content is very low - but be warned - it might also taste super bitter to the novice. Once you get lower than about 70% or even worse - consuming milk chocolate or white chocolate, then you're exposing your teeth to a bunch of sugars that can encourage or speed up decay.
Dark Chocolate Covered Nuts may be better for you than plain dark chocolate, just because the proteins in nuts can help to balance out some of the sugar absorption. They often also contain vitamin D and calcium, which help to strengthen teeth. On the other hand, nuts can be quite hard - so biting down on them may damage already weakened teeth.
Dark Chocolate Covered Strawberries (or other fruit) might be a safer option - as they're usually softer than nuts. And they're fruit, so overall might be healthier for you as well. There's more sugar and fruit acids though (when compared to nuts), so there are positives and negatives (and you can read on for even better suggestions)!
Sugar-free Valentine's Themed Candy - this is an iffy one because there is a bit of research done on the non-sugar sweetener, xylitol but you've still got sweet things sitting in your mouth (and not all of it may be good for your overall heath). On the plus side, if candies are sugar-free, they often contain xylitol - which may actually slow down the demineralization of teeth (read about that here). Neater still, if a pregnant mother consumes xylitol, there might be implications that they pass on some of the protection to the baby they birth - as these babies show lower levels of the cavity-causing bacteria. For the research paper, read it for yourself here.
Gifts - Can someone say "jewellery" is probably the top pick? LOL. We're just kidding (...ok, maybe only half kidding), but giving non-edible presents is fantastic for your teeth - as long as you don't bite into it to test if it's "real gold"!
Valentine's Day Cards - they're fun, they're cute and they can be hand-crafted to perfection! And accessible for all ages too! For people who don't have the time, they can be quickly store bought and for fairly cheaply too, so kids can share and swap with all their friends.
Valentine's Day Crafts - If you're a Crafty Kathy, consider DIY-ing a valentine. Options include a handmade card (as mentioned earlier), origami flowers, book of photos, scrapbook, etc. Use your creativity to come up with something no one else has come up with before.
Something baked/cooked/consumable - Since you're making it yourself, might as well make it a savoury treat and reduce sugar consumption altogether :D. Some ideas might be heart-shaped crackers, valentine's dinner, breakfast in bed, etc. If you're not so much of a 'kitchen-person', get some heart-shaped tins and fill them with loose leaf tea, specialty coffee, etc. Or fill a mason jar with your choice of consumable and do a heart-shaped tag.
Nice gesture - Just do something nice for sometime today! Instead of focusing on the materialistic aspect of Valentine's day, shovel someone's snow, hold the door open for someone, donate some of your unused possessions, ask around and see how many people could use those extra set of hands you've got.
Flowers - Send a bouquet of flowers! Or try your hand at floral arrangements yourself. We love the minimalistic design aspects of Japanese Ikebana - you'd know that if you were following along our social media all along. And if you weren't - what are you waiting for? Follow us now on Facebook and Instagram.
Activities - And, finally at the top of our "Top Picks List" - spend the time with your loved ones. Go ice skating, have a nice meal together, go check out a museum or art gallery or a show, have a short weekend trip together, or do some sightseeing in your own hometown. Buying 'stuff' will only last for so long but the memories you create together? Forever.