The daffodils and tulips are in bloom, lambs are skipping around the fields, and the supermarkets are filled with an overabundance of chocolate. It can only mean one thing – Easter time has officially arrived!
While Easter is a great time of year, the amount of sugary treats available can be a disaster for teeth, especially for children. We’ve put some top tips together with Dr Catherine Rutland, dental spokesperson and Head of Professional Support Services at Simplyhealth, to help your family enjoy the Easter period (and some chocolate treats!) without putting your oral health at risk.
Enjoy Easter treats as part of a meal, rather than nibbling throughout the day
“After we consume something sugary, bacteria found in our mouths produce harmful acids that cause tooth decay,” explains Catherine. “It takes saliva up to an hour to neutralise acid attacks, so if you’re constantly snacking on sugary treats, your mouth won’t get a chance to recover. It’s much better to eat Easter treats as part of a meal rather than nibbling throughout the day.”
Once children have collected their Easter chocolates, it’s a good idea for parents to keep sugary treats in a special tin or Easter basket and keep control of it. Children could even decorate the tin as part of their Easter activities.
After eating chocolates and sweets, don’t brush straight away.
“Tooth enamel is softer and weaker after it’s been exposed to sugar and acid, so it’s best not to brush immediately after you’ve eaten your Easter treats,” advises Catherine. “You may think that brushing makes sense to remove traces of chocolate, but in reality you could be damaging your tooth enamel with the abrasive brushing action. After eating, wait at least an hour before brush, or alternatively you can brush your teeth before eating.”
Give non-edible Easter gifts
“Children don’t automatically associate Easter with chocolate – it’s something that’s learnt over the years with parents and grandparents giving them sugary Easter treats, so it helps if you can avoid making chocolate the main focus of the celebrations,” says Catherine. “During an Easter egg hunt, hide a few non-edible Easter toys for them to collect along the way, so that there’s not an abundance of chocolate. There are lots of cheap Easter-themed toys available such as cuddly toys, finger-puppets, fluffy chicks, crayons and colouring books – some of which are actually cheaper than a chocolate egg and they also make the fun last longer.”
Easter arts and crafts
“Decorating hardboiled eggs makes a brilliant Easter school holiday project and they make a tooth-friendly snack too!” says Catherine. “It focuses children on other aspects to Easter celebrations and detracts from too much chocolate.”
Have a tooth-happy Easter everybody!