Easter is a great time for family celebrations, but you may be worried about the impact of all that chocolate and candy on your family’s dental health. Consuming too much sugar feeds decay-causing bacteria found naturally in your mouth, increasing the risk of cavities.
How much Is too much?
The World Health Organisation suggests women should consume no more than 25g daily, while men can eat a little more at 35g. When you look at the amount of sugar in popular Easter treats, you can see how easy it is to exceed this level in no time at all. For example, Lindt Easter bunnies are extremely popular, and you’d assume one bunny was a serving size, but you be wrong. Just half a bunny contains 25g of sugar, and it’s tricky to find the willpower to stop at just half! It’s a similar story with peeps that usually weigh around 28g but have 14g of sugar. Peanut butter chocolate eggs are another popular treat, each potentially containing between 20 and 30g of sugar.
It’s easy to consume your daily sugar intake even before eating other meals. The situation worsens if you have an Easter basket full of sweet treats ready to snack on.
Follow our easy tips this Easter to help protect your family’s dental health.
If you want something sweet, choose chocolate and the darker, the better. Chocolate with more than 70% cocoa can satisfy that sweet craving with just a few squares. Look for individually wrapped sweets as it is easier to control portion sizes or use plastic eggs to provide an individualised portion which is a great option for children.
Opt for soft and easily chewable sweets
We often see patients who have broken teeth on hard sweets like toffees, hard candy and caramel. Nobody wants to spend their holiday seeing an emergency dentist, so instead, pick sweets that are easy to chew, will melt more easily and are washed away more quickly. In comparison, something very sticky or hard will tend to get stuck between your teeth for longer. The longer your teeth remain covered in sugar, the higher the risk of cavities.
Resist the urge to snack on sweets all day because every time you do, your mouth becomes more acidic due to the acids excreted by oral bacteria thriving on sugary leftovers. The longer your mouth remains acidic, the greater the chance that the acid will weaken your tooth enamel, eventually causing cavities. Instead, try to eat candy as part of your main meal when your mouth is already more acidic.
Drink plenty of water
After eating sweets, swish your mouth with water to help wash away food debris and cavity-causing bacteria. Water also helps ensure you can make plenty of saliva, which is essential for a healthy mouth.
Plan ahead for road trips
If your Easter plans include a road trip, go prepared with a cooler full of sugar-free drinks and healthy foods, so it’s easy to resist buying fast food on sugary treats on the way.