As you prepare for Easter, you may be worried about the health impact of the candy and chocolate bunnies you’re putting in Easter baskets or the jelly beans you’re stuffing in plastic eggs.
Similarly, you might be concerned about your diet over the holiday – family dinners, Easter brunches, even eating fast food on road trips.
This concern is not unreasonable; too much consumption of anything sugary can make teeth and gums susceptible to bacteria, which cause tooth decay and disease.
This Easter, take these tips from your Warner Lakes Dental dentist to minimise the deleterious effects of sweet candies and rich foods on your family’s teeth, particularly those of your children.
Easter’s sugary threat
Easter sweets are chock full of sugar. Recommendations by the World Health Organisation suggest Australians should have between 25 grams (women) and 35 grams (men) of sugar in their diet. Easter candies can exceed this recommendation in almost no time.
Here are a few examples:
- Lindt Chocolate Bunny. First, the “serving’ size here is half a bunny at 25 grams of sugar. But you’ll likely eat the whole bunny, and have a shocking 50 grams of sugar.
- Peeps. One chocolate covered Peep (28-grams) has 14 grams of sugar. If you eat one serving of small yellow peeps you get a whopping 34 grams of sugar – basically the entire recommended sugar for an adult man in a day!
- Ten large jellybeans. 20 grams of sugar.
- Peanut butter chocolate eggs – 20 to 32 grams of sugar.
A handful of jellybeans and a chocolate bunny and you’ve more than tripled your suggested sugar intake for the day, before taking into account meals and drinks. And if you have an Easter basket full of candy in the house, it gets worse every day.
Our six tips for controlling dental health over Easter
Choose chocolate. If you just have to have candy, choose dark chocolate. Choosing chocolate that contains 70% or more cacaos can help reduce blood pressure and lower the risk of heart disease.
Consider individually wrapped candies, as opposed to pouring jellybeans into your child’s basket. Put a few individually wrapped candies into their basket that children can enjoy one at a time. You can also use plastic eggs to control candy portions.
Softer and easily chewable is better. One of the most frequent problems we see over the Easter holiday is broken fillings.
Hard sweets like boiled candy, caramels, and toffees often cause dental cracks and breaks. Sticky sweets are also harder to rinse away, so your teeth are exposed to sugar for more extended periods when you eat them.
They tend to get stuck between teeth, on the gums, and even under your tongue. Choosing softer chocolates and candies is a much safer option.
No grazing. Munching on candies all day expands your waistline while it damages your teeth. About 20 minutes after eating, your saliva begins to neutralise acids excreted by oral bacteria. Each time you eat, those acids are excreted, and your saliva has to struggle to deal with them.
If you graze on your candies, your teeth never have a chance to recover and their weakened enamel becomes more prone to damage. Do not brush your teeth immediately. This speeds up your teeth enamel erosion. Wait for at least thirty minutes before brushing your teeth. By that time, your saliva has already neutralized the acids in your mouth.
If you can, eat crunchy food like a carrot or apple after you have something sweet. The fibre and liquid in the apple will help keep your teeth clean. Wait a few hours between meals to keep your teeth in optimal condition, or eat your sweets with a meal.
Water is your friend! Serve water with candy, after candy, and during meals. Water sluices away sugar and food debris that works with mouth bacteria to build decay-causing acids.
Serve water with Easter candy and encourage your kids to drink it as they eat chocolate bunnies and other sweets. Water also helps support saliva production, which is key to a healthy mouth and teeth.
It also helps you feel full so you won’t think about eating more cavity-causing treats.
- Plan family car journeys. If you are going on a road trip this Easter, keep in mind that eating fast food or sugary food puts your teeth under attack. Pack a cooler full of healthy foods and non-sugared drinks to get you from place to place.
Alternatives to sugary Easter candy for the Easter eggs
One way to avoid all the sugar is to put non-candy related items into Easter baskets.
You can include non-food items like books, CDs, pencils, toys or hair accessories. This way, you can avoid children’s consumption of sugary treats.
Here are just a few suggestions:
- Sugarless gum
- Stick on tattoos
- Dark chocolate
- Hair ribbons
- Small action figures
- Mini pretzels
The Warner Lakes Brisbane Dental Care Experience
Warner Lakes Dental makes your visit to be the quickest and most convenient experience imagineable. From parking to treatment, we make treatments as straightforward and painless as possible.
From routine check-ups and cleans to root canals, extractions, and cosmetic procedures; Warner Lakes Dental is your partner in optimal dental health.
We want you to enjoy life with a stunning smile and a healthy mouth, teeth, and gums!
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Call us on (07) 3448 0162 or visit us at Warner Lakes Medical Precinct, 1185B Old North Road in Warner