How to keep a healthy smile intact, even with the odd Easter egg!
Easter will soon be upon us, and, as anyone who has children will know, it is seen by some as an excuse to (over) indulge in the consumption of chocolate, usually in the form of Easter eggs.
These are now rarely just shells made of chocolate as in the past, but will often have extra sweets and chocolates inside, adding to the amount of sugar eaten.
There is no reason why we should deprive ourselves of a little indulgence at this time of the year, especially if you make sure to, otherwise, take good care of your teeth. With this in mind, our Clock Tower Dental Clinic team have put together their top nine suggestions as to how our Epsom patients can enjoy their Easter eggs and still maintain healthy teeth!
Clean your teeth – This one is pretty obvious. Especially when you have been eating a lot of additional chocolate, cleaning your teeth is important. If you have children, who may well be excitable at all the extra chocolate, make sure to supervise them when they clean their teeth, especially at bedtime. No ‘last minute’ chocolate treats after their have cleaned their teeth either.
Keep consumption to regular times – Sugar on its own isn’t the entire problem; it is also how and when it is eaten. If we eat our regular meals and then eat the Easter eggs in between, we may not be allowing our teeth time to recover and this can lead to additional damage due to the enamel of our teeth softening after eating. As far as you can, try to eat your Easter eggs at the end of the meal and give your teeth a break in between.
Drink water – Easter eggs are bad enough, but chocolate can make children thirsty. Make sure that they keep their mouths and bodies refreshed with plain old water and try to avoid fizzy drinks. These enamel stripping drinks will only add to the problem of the additional sugar consumption, whilst water will also help to wash away some of the excess sugars, especially those stuck between the teeth.
Avoid stickier treats – Try to avoid the stickier type of sweets when you buy your Easter eggs. Contents such as soft toffee or fondants, such as those in a well known brand of small Easter egg, will really stick to your teeth and are best avoided if you can.
Suggest alternatives – We are not saying that children shouldn’t have their Easter eggs, but it is likely that, unless we take action, they may end up with several of them, often from relatives. Try to find out if there is anything that your child would rather have as a small gift, rather than chocolate. As long as they receive one egg, they may well be prepared to swap the additional ones for other small gifts that they enjoy.
No late night chocolate – Kids will be kids and they may well try to twist your arm for a last piece of chocolate before they have to clean their teeth. The problem with this is that if they do eat chocolate and clean their teeth straight afterwards, they may well simply end up rubbing the chocolate around their teeth, leaving sugary deposits overnight. Try to make sure that at least an hour passes between their last chocolate and their teeth cleaning so that their saliva has time to remove the excess chocolate from their teeth.
Keep Easter for Easter – Especially if relatives are visiting at various times over the Easter period, and beyond, you may find that there is what may seem to be a never ending supply of chocolates for your children. Try to impose a time limit on the time when these can be eaten, with any left used to replace any other sweets that they would normally consume over the coming weeks.
Mind your own teeth – It isn’t just kids of course; adults should watch their chocolate consumption too. One sometimes forgotten factor is that chocolate can be quite hard, especially if you are one of those people who like to keep yours in the fridge. If you have a tooth that has had root canal treatment, you might not be aware of how hard you are biting down, and you could damage the restored tooth. It is worth keeping this in mind if you like your chocolate cold from the fridge.
Get outside – All those extra calories, combined quite possibly with additional TV time for the kids as they are off school, will only contribute to the growing obesity problem that shows no sign of fading. Don’t just sit around all day, wrap up and go for a nice long family Easter walk. Your kids might enjoy it more than you think, once they have made the effort.
Finally, although we encourage a reduction in sugar consumption, we are not killjoys and most of us like a piece of chocolate every now and then too. We hope that you enjoy your Easter break and that, if you follow the advice above, your teeth will come out the other side undamaged, even if you over-indulge just a little bit.
If you would like to make an appointment at the Clock Tower Dental Clinic, once Easter is over, please give us a call on 01372 720136.