Many holidays include a lot of sweets and candy, especially Valentine’s Day, which centers around sharing small Valentine’s treats with friends and family. So how much candy will your kids bring home from school after their Valentine’s exchange?
While it’s fun to enjoy these Valentine’s treats, parents are also concerned about how the sugar affects their child’s dental health. The science is undeniable: consuming high amounts of sugar and frequently eating candy can be bad for dental health.
At Cosmetic & Family Dentistry of Las Colinas, we don’t want to ruin your Valentine’s Day fun. So, today we are sharing ideas so that you can enjoy this day of love and protect your family’s health at the same time.
Best Valentine’s Day Treats for Kids
Here are some of the tastiest Valentine’s Day treats you can enjoy while minimizing the potential risk for dental health issues:
- Chocolate Covered Fruit: Even though chocolate has sugar, you can minimize the amount of consumption by covering fruit in chocolate (as an alternative to eating a whole piece of chocolate). For example, chocolate-covered strawberries are fancy and delicious –great Valentine’s treats. Another option is to plan an activity with a fruit platter and chocolate fondue.
- Charcuterie Board: It’s a fun family activity to share a meal or snack time with finger foods. Make a charcuterie board with cheese and crackers, as well as meat slices, fruit, vegetables, and more. A beautiful presentation makes these Valentine’s snacks extra unique when sharing them with your loved ones. For example, use a heart-shaped cookie cutter to shape the cheese and meat slices.
- Dark Chocolate Gifts: If you want to buy chocolate as a gift, go with dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate or white chocolate—the darker the chocolate, the lower the sugar content. Lowering the sugar content helps to reduce the risk of tooth decay. Plus, dark chocolate is an excellent source of antioxidants that are healthy for your brain and heart.
- Fruit Tray: Fruit is the perfect way to satisfy your sweet tooth and minimize refined sugar at the same time. Add color to Valentine’s treats by using a wide variety of fruits: strawberries, raspberries, grapes, melons, and more. Improve the presentation by stacking fruit on skewers. Or, slice the fruit bites into heart-shaped pieces.
- Milk and Cookies: If you are going to serve sugary treats, such as cookies or cake, then make sure to wash it down with a glass of milk. Milk is high in phosphorus, calcium, and protein, which can help to strengthen the teeth and bones.
No matter the Valentine’s treats you are sharing with your family, don’t forget to make time for brushing after you finish eating. When the meal is over, brush your teeth before moving on to the next activity to remove the bacteria-causing sugar that is coating the teeth. This helps to limit the risk of tooth decay.
Non-Food Valentine’s Treats
It’s great to share Valentine’s treats with your loved ones, but don’t assume that everything needs to focus on food. When it comes to Valentine’s Day, there are many other ways you can celebrate the holiday without adding more sugar to the holiday.
Here are a few small gifts you can share to help kids feel the excitement of the holiday without sugary snacks:
- Stickers: A new pack of stickers can create an hour of fun. Pick brightly colored stickers with Valentine’s images, such as hearts, cute animals, and more.
- Heart Pop Fidget Toys: These toys are trending this year! Kids love to collect different colors and shapes and even trade them with their friends. The bubbles are entertaining, and you can even find heart-shaped designs.
- Valentine’s Day Slime: How much do your kids like playing with slime and putty? Create a Valentine’s Day theme with red, pink, and white matching colors. You can buy premade slime or make it an activity using the ingredients to make homemade slime.
- Heart PJ’s: Hold onto the fun of Valentine’s Day after the holiday is over by gifting each child with holiday PJs. These gifts are both fun and practical. You can even find matching PJs for the whole family! Then, enjoy a themed Valentine’s Day breakfast together, wearing your new PJs.
- Plush Animals: A small stuffed animal can be comforting and cozy. Share a Valentine greeting with the child’s favorite animal. Or, look for small toys to match their favorite TV show, such as Paw Patrol.
- Picture Books: Help your child enjoy reading with fun stories and colorful picture books. You can find love-themed children’s books to share as a Valentine’s gift. Plan story time on Valentine’s Day to sit down as a family and enjoy these stories together.
Valentine’s Day Games for Kids
Plan Valentine’s Day games for kids, such as:
- Minute to Win It: These small games include 60-second challenges using common items based on the popular TV game show. Examples include a ring toss, word scrambling, stacking challenges, and more.
- Mad Libs: Make silly stories together using Mad Libs-themed activities. Work together in partners to fill in the blanks, then laugh together at the funny results.
- Heart Crafts: Pulling out the colored paper, markers, and craft supplies can create hours of fun together. Teach your kids how to make a heart by folding a paper in half and cutting it. Plan a purpose for the craft time, such as creating Valentine’s cards for grandparents or designing a Valentine’s themed poster to hang on the wall.
Healthy Dental Habits Throughout the Year
While it’s important to think about healthy Valentine’s treats, the truth is that one day of sugar indulgence probably won’t result in severe tooth decay problems. Instead, what matters is the day-in-day-out habits that protect your child’s teeth throughout the year.
How are you maintaining a consistent schedule for brushing, flossing, and dental checkups? These habits teach your children about good dental health while they are young, contributing to healthy teeth that can last a lifetime.
For more information about pediatric dental health, our team is here to answer your questions at any time. Contact Cosmetic & Family Dentistry of Las Colinas if you need to schedule a cleaning and exam or if you have questions for a dental specialist.