Three Types Of Valentine Treats That Could Ruin Your Teeth

Chances are, one of the things you like most about your significant other is his or her smile. Keep that smile bright and healthy by making good choices about what you get as a Valentine's Day gift!

Roses are no problem, but some kinds of candy, foods and drinks are better for the teeth than others. Those that are sugary and sticky play a bigger role in staining teeth and leading to decay. So follow these tips to select the best -- but still decadent -- options for your sweetheart.

1. Chewy and sticky spell tooth trauma.

Not only can a chewy candy pull on teeth, potentially loosening an already weak tooth, but the small bits of gooey candy stick in between teeth, trapping bacteria and leading to plaque formation. (This can lead to bad breath as well -- an especially bad choice for a romantic holiday where you might want to kiss.)

Here are some particular problems:

  • Sour candies. These contain citric, fumaric, and malic acids to produce the sour taste; these acids are especially hard on tooth enamel.
  • Caramel. There are varying degrees of chewiness in caramel candies, but almost all kinds are sticky and adhere to teeth.
  • Fruity candies. Even fruit snacks and gummy bears stick to teeth; avoid these as well as chocolate-covered dried fruits and gel-like candies.

Instead of chewy candies, pick a dark chocolate -- more romantic, and less processed than other types of chocolate. That means less sugar; plus, dark chocolate contains antioxidants that are healthier than most candy alternatives.

2. Steer clear of wines.

Red wines may be delicious, but they can stain teeth. Tannins in the wine are responsible for the dark color, but they also adhere to teeth and cause impossible-to-remove stains.

In addition, white wine consumption can lead to staining. They're a better choice than red wines when it comes to discoloring teeth, but a study done by New York University School of Dentistry, researchers found that white wine followed by other staining food or drink increased stains caused by those secondary foods.

What should you enjoy instead? Choose a non-carbonated or citrus fruit juice or a clear liquor. Lighter beers are also less likely to stain.

3. Crunchy can cause damage.

The problem with crunchy foods is that they are likely to get stuck between teeth, which leads to decay. Plus, crunchy foods can destroy teeth if they are not chewed properly. Popcorn, which might be a Valentine treat -- especially if you go to a movie as part of your date -- is notorious for causing problems. Bite down on an unpopped kernel, for example, and your teeth could crack.

In order to keep your teeth looking their best, avoid chewy candy, staining drinks and crunchy popcorn during your date nights. Talk to your cosmetic dentist to find out how you can repair visual problems and whiten teeth to look younger and feel better. To learn more, visit