All those Easter sweets, and how quickly they come by, can make children happy for weeks after the holiday ends. But sugary treats do not go along with keeping your children’s teeth healthy.
Should Easter eggs and chocolate bunnies be cut completely from your children’s diets? That would be an excessively drastic measure. There are ways to manage your children’s oral health and still let them enjoy Easter. Here are some tips.
Choose better treats
All Easter sweets don’t have the same effects on how they can cause cavities on your children’s teeth. Some contain more sugar, or might take a long time to chew, which exposes teeth longer to acids.
Bad Easter candies:
Sticky candy: the longer something sweet stays in the mouth, the higher the risk is to cause cavities. Sticky candies contain a lot of sugar, and when they stick to teeth they allow bacteria to feast on them and to trigger damage.
Milk chocolate: it’s a type of chocolate that is very tasty because of its added flavours from milk. But it can contain a high amount of sugar, about double of what dark chocolate has. This means that it’s at higher risk of causing tooth decay.
Good Easter candies:
Dark Chocolate: recent research is concluding that chocolate has properties that can actually be beneficial for teeth, as long as it doesn’t contain a lot of sugar, as it would for milk chocolate. If you choose dark chocolate of 75% and above, it would be considered as a good treat for oral health. The taste is bitterer than milk chocolate, but it is something that you children can get used to, and even appreciate, if you expose them only to dark chocolate.
Chocolate bar with nuts: if candy or chocolate tends to stick to teeth, nuts can help make it break apart. This would reduce the amount of time teeth are exposed to sugar. If you chose a dark chocolate bar with nuts, your child would be a winning champion!
Cut down the frequency
Each time a child eats sweets, he or she exposes their teeth to sugar. And to be safe, they must later brush and floss. If you give your children Easter treats, let’s say only after dinner, once a day, you reduced the amount of times they put sugar in their mouths. And after dinner, they were supposed to brush their teeth anyways, so it’s good timing.
Furthermore, during a meal, a mouth is already producing saliva that will help neutralize acids from sugar, as well as washing away food debris. So eating Easter candy right after a major meal is very appropriate.
Drink water during and after
Make your child drink water while they eat their Easter treat. The liquid will help wash away debris and not keep it available to stick on teeth. Of course, it has to be plain water and not other type of liquids like milk or diluted juice.
When your child has his or her last bite of the sweets, make sure they finish off with a last drink of water.
Brushing and flossing
No amount of water or saliva is as good as brushing and flossing after eating candy. It helps clean all the sweet debris left stuck on teeth. Of course, brushing alone does a good cleaning but leaves teeth’s in between surfaces still dirty. That’s why flossing is important.
Make your child wait 30 minutes after eating before he or she brushes and flosses. When your child eats sugar, it creates a big amount of acids in their mouth, which can wear away enamel easily. Waiting before brushing is important so that the acid level in the mouth goes down before applying the physical pressure of a toothbrush and floss on the enamel of teeth.
- Dental Health Foundation Ireland, (Easter Tips).
- Nutrition Advance, (Dark Chocolate vs. Milk Chocolate: Which is Better?).
- AskTheDentist, (The Complete Guide to Easter Candy).
- Cricklewood Chocolate, (On Etsy).