Picture this: You’re curled up on the sofa with your sweetie, sharing a romantic, heart-shaped box of Valentine’s chocolates and … CRACK … one of you breaks a tooth. Or you bite into something particularly sticky and lose a filling. That’s not the way anyone wants their Valentine’s evening to go.
To find some gift ideas that won’t harm your love’s sexy smile, we reached out to Dr. Jason Hutto, DDS. His suggestion for sweets without candy’s teeth-harming abilities? Fruit. A fruit of the month subscription or a fruit arrangement is still a fun and lively gift without all the refined sugar of traditional candy. Plus apples, pears, cantaloupe and other fibrous fruits have a cleansing effect on your teeth as you chew.
Here are some more unique food ideas for every Valentine that will keep their smile healthy and bright.
The World Traveler
If your love is a globe-trotter, or just wishes she was, why not take her on a foodie staycation? You can get a basket with the foods of her favorite region online, or design one yourself.
If she’s longing for Paris, some fancy French cheeses, a crusty baguette, some fresh fruit and wine will make a lovely picnic.
If it’s Mexico she’s missing, some artisanal salsa, Mexican cheeses, tortillas and tequila would make a fiery night.
Similar baskets could be prepared for practically any region. And the great thing, Dr. Hutto says, is that many of these food baskets can easily incorporate cheese. “The calcium in cheese is great for strengthening your teeth,” he says. He cautions against overdoing the wine or any acidic ingredients, but as long as you eat and drink in moderation, you should be fine.
The Gourmet Foodie
If your significant other fancies himself the next Emeril Lagasse, why not indulge his chef wishes (and reap some tasty rewards yourself) with some special ingredients?
Olive oils come flavored with everything from basil and blood oranges to garlic and habanero, in all sorts of price ranges. Your chef could whip up lots of interesting dishes with those.
Or what if he has always wanted to experiment with saffron or other exotic (maybe pricey) ingredients? Try a local spice shop and buy a pinch of this and pinch of that.
Let your love go to town creating new dishes and memories for you both. Since these types of dishes probably won’t be too sweet or sticky, your teeth should be OK, Dr. Hutto says. “It’s the sticky foods that stay on the teeth for a while that create an increased risk for decay,” he says.
The Health Nut
Flavored sparkling water is all the rage these days, and with a gift like a Soda Stream your Valentine can make all the sparkling water they want. The water is a healthier alternative to sugary sodas and saves money versus buying cans and bottles of flavored water.
Not only will this gift not wreck your Valentine’s teeth, it may improve them, Dr. Hutto says. One big drawback to bottled water sold in stores is the lack of fluoride, but if you use a Soda Stream with tap water, this teeth-saving mineral will be included.
If you use any flavor additions that contain acid, Dr. Hutto recommends the following: Use the additions in moderation, rinse with plain water after your drink is finished and brush your teeth after about 30 minutes. “The acid can temporarily soften enamel, and then immediate brushing can cause more wear on it than normal. Waiting 20 to 30 minutes after eating acidic foods before you brush can prevent this,” he says.
The Green Thumb
If your guy or gal has a thing for gardening, how about a food gift that grows? There are many places online where you can find herb-growing kits with everything from the container to the seeds. If you’re the DIY type, you can always build a lovely window box and include some seed packets or seedlings for your Valentine to plant. Then you and your love can spice things up, literally.
Not only will these herbs flavor your dishes in a healthy way, but some can improve breath, Dr. Hutto says. Mint and parsley are known bad-breath neutralizers.
The Hopeless Romantic
If your Valentine wants a classic romantic food gift and doesn’t quite fit into the categories above, fear not. There’s one timeless classic that is always a good idea and won’t wreck their teeth: chocolate covered strawberries.
With this treat, you get all the vitamins and fiber from the fruit with a thin layer of chocolate. This is great news for your teeth, Dr. Hutto says, because chocolate by itself melts pretty quickly in the mouth and won’t harm teeth. “What you want to avoid are chocolates with fillings like nougat, caramel or toffee,” he says. These sticky treats are not tooth-friendly.
And while brushing and flossing after a meal are always important, they may be even more so on Valentine’s Day, Hutto says. This will help protect your teeth from any wine, candy or other treats you indulged in, and it’ll make your Valentine’s Day kisses that much fresher too.
Want to improve your self-confidence and quality of life through your smile? Contact Dr. Hutto today and schedule your appointment.