Valentine’s is an excellent opportunity to share with your loved ones. Children are no strangers to the idea of choosing your valentine, writing a well-intentioned letter, and asking their friends to go grab a bite and share some sweets.
And that’s the thing. So many traditions involve eating sugary treats, candy, and sweet chocolate on Valentine’s Day, so we wanted to swing by and remind parents about how they can get involved with their kids’ dental care.
We’ll go over a few ideas on how to make the most out of the February 14th celebrations without falling into excess or endangering our kids’ dental health. First, please remember that children are sponges who will imitate everything they see you doing, so invite them to brush their teeth with you and make their oral care a fun activity.
Valentine’s Day Breakfast and Lunch Ideas
Valentine’s Day gives you the chance to cook up ideas the whole family will love. Make the foods that your child eats every day just a little bit more exciting with a couple of twists, and help them celebrate without putting their dental health at risk.
There are plenty of easy ways to make their normal foods festive. You can try adding a little bit of red food coloring to a few breakfast foods and make them pink! A fun project is to mix your bagel’s cream cheese with a bit of food coloring. Valentine’s breakfast bagels? Oh yeah. Strawberries are also a staple of Valentine’s, so cut up and slice a bit of the fruit and add it to your child’s cereal bowl or make a smoothie. Fruits make for excellent snacks for your child’s busy days.
Since Valentine’s Day falls on a school day this year, your child will probably be eating their lunch away from home. The cafeteria may have some holiday specials, but if you usually pack their lunch, keep the festive theme going!
Try including a heart-shaped sandwich or fruit and veggies cut into heart shapes! This can easily be done with a cookie cutter. We advise against packing candy in their lunch as a treat, as they will probably be getting a lot of treats from their classmates.
It is easy to go overboard on Valentine’s Day when there are delicious sweets and decadent foods everywhere. It is great to allow your child to enjoy the sweet things in life, but always in moderation!
When preparing your kid’s food, just remember to control their portion sizes and keep in mind the effect that sweets have on teeth. If consumed too often, they can cause cavities and damage your child’s teeth in the long run.
Do you have a cookie cutter, or maybe you’re feeling like spending a few dollars on a silicone mold that’s heat-resistant? Either way, you’ll get to help your child start their day with a nutritious breakfast when you make some heart-shaped pancakes and mix them up with scrambled eggs.
Our pick for the pancake batter? This mixture serves 4 to 5 pancakes, and you can scale it up:
- 1 Cup of all-purpose flour;
- 3/4 Teaspoon of salt;
- 1 Teaspoon of baking soda;
- 3/4 Cup of whole milk (you could also substitute for almond milk or soy milk);
- 2 Tablespoons of white sugar;
- 2 Tablespoons of unsalted butter;
- 1 whole egg.
Give it a try, and tell us how fluffy those pancakes were.
Gift Ideas for Your Child
If you plan to get your child a present to celebrate Valentine’s Day, consider something that will last longer and cause less damage than candy. There are some great classic gifts out there, like stuffed animals, flowers, and balloons, that will help them feel special and celebrated.
You can also give them a toy or game that you know they have been wanting! Another option is to give them an experience. Take them out for a Valentine’s Day dinner or to a movie. Even just a trip to their favorite park or local attraction together can be a lot of fun!
If your child is going to be giving out valentines to their classmates, encourage them to choose valentine cards that include treats like stickers, temporary tattoos, or small toys or trinkets instead of candy.
If every student in their class includes a candy treat in their valentines, that adds up to anywhere between 20 and 35 pieces of candy per child at the end of the exchange! Your child’s teeth (and the other parents!) will appreciate a variety of surprises in their valentines.
Take Care of Your Kids’ Teeth During Valentine’s
You may have caught on to the trend here, but we cannot stress it enough. You have to teach your children about the importance of proper dental care during festivities or holidays when most people just focus on sweets that could damage your kids’ teeth.
Consuming an excessive amount of sugar can cause a lot of issues, especially for younger children. Along with the unpredictable burst of energy and subsequent sugar crash, sugar can damage their teeth and cause painful cavities.
Even if your child still has mostly primary teeth, it is important to start oral health consciousness early because cavities in their baby teeth can affect the development and health of their permanent teeth. Moderation is the key to success when it comes to enjoying treats.
This is especially important for children on holidays, as celebrations tend to involve a lot of sweets and candy. Be sure to monitor how much candy they are having, and remind them to brush and floss extra thoroughly afterward!
Brush and Floss Your Kids’ Teeth
Although this step may seem like common sense, oral care routines are often neglected or postponed on holidays. Typically, most people brush their teeth first thing in the morning and once more before they go to bed at night.
While this is a normal and healthy practice, when your child consumes foods or candy that is extremely high in sugar, you should help them adjust their routine.
When sugars and carbohydrates are left on the surface of teeth, they turn into bacteria and plaque that begin to attack your enamel. It is always a good idea to bring a portable toothbrush and toothpaste with you wherever you and your child go. After consuming these foods, your child should brush their teeth to remove the sugar that can be left behind on their teeth.
Another part of their oral routine that is extremely important is flossing. Often times many people disregard it because they feel that it does not make a big difference in their overall oral health.
In reality, flossing is one of the most important steps of any dental hygiene routine, and it should not be skipped. Your child should be flossing at least once a day to remove any plaque that has built up in between their teeth. Flossing can be difficult for small children. To make it easier, brands like DenTek offer floss picks that include handles that are a little more kid-friendly.
Bring You Kid for Pediatric Dentistry Care in Katy, TX
No matter how you choose to celebrate, we hope you and your family have a wonderful Valentine’s Day! You can bring them to our office for additional treatments that strengthen their teeth or undergo a consultation to determine if there’s anything that requires professional care. Is your child due for a dental cleaning or fluoride treatment application? Schedule their pediatric dental appointment with us today!