Tooth tips for Easter chocolate lovers
Just because we work in dentistry doesn’t mean we never eat things that are ‘bad’ for our teeth – and with Easter looming there’s plenty of temptation to overindulge in chocolate!
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with enjoying a chocolate egg (or two) as part of a balanced diet, but a sensible approach is essential - with Easter eggs on shelves for much longer these days than they used to be, there’s a real risk that a few weeks of higher than usual sugar consumption could impact on your patients’ oral health.
The good news is that chocolate isn’t as bad for teeth as some other foods – especially sticky sweets that linger in the mouth - so sticking to a good oral hygiene routine of twice daily brushing and regular dental check-ups should be enough to fend off decay. Here are some more handy hints you might like to pass on to your patients this Easter:
Don’t indulge between meals
Grazing all day is a nightmare as far as tooth decay is concerned because it lowers the pH level of your saliva for longer. It’s much better to enjoy sweet treats at the end of a normal mealtime. As for the ‘don’t eat it all at once’ advice our mothers used to give us – wrong! It’s much worse for your teeth to keep picking at small amounts of chocolate over the course of a day, than to eat a larger portion in one go.
Neutralise the acid
You should never brush your teeth right after eating a sugary treat because the enamel is already softened due to the acidity in your mouth. Instead, try to reduce the acid in your mouth by drinking water or milk, or chewing some sugar free gum to increase saliva production.
Choose lower sugar
There are a range of low sugar and sugar free Easter eggs available on the market these days which can be a great swap, especially for children. Alternatively, dark chocolate has a lower sugar content and may even be good for your teeth due to the antioxidants it contains – as long as it’s enjoyed in moderation!
Buy an alternative
Most parents will tell you that they’re still finding ways to dispose of the Easter chocolate well into summer – and they’ll thank you for choosing an alternative Easter gift. Soft toys, craft items or even a good book are all great suggestions.
Keeping teeth clean is still the best way to combat decay – brush for two minutes twice a day, use floss and mouthwash to eliminate any remaining debris and see your dentist & hygienist regularly to keep on top of any issues.