Whilst Easter is an exciting time for Easter Eggs, it is important to remember the impact that the ‘sweet feast’ may have on your and your child’s dental health. With Easter Eggs commonly containing over 50% sugar (average Easter Egg of 100gms contains 50gms sugar), the sweet overindulgence is set to take its toll on teeth. Tooth decay is now one of the most common causes of hospitalisation amongst young children, with tens of thousands of children needing extractions each year.
Frequent intake of sugary food and drink provides a source of sugar on which bacteria in the mouth feed to produce acid, which then attacks healthy tooth structure resulting in cavities (holes) in the teeth. These then retain the sticky food substances creating potential for further acid erosion and destruction deeper within the teeth, and resulting toothache. Indeed this may encroach on the nerve within the tooth leading to dental abscesses and further infection if left untreated.
Top Tips: The Easter Survival Guide for Teeth!
- Eat a diet low in sugars, with non-carbonated, low sugar drinks.
- Consider alternatives to chocolate Easter Eggs and sweets e.g. activities, trips out, crafts etc
- Substitute sugar for sugar replacements e.g. xylitol (lower caries causing ability as the ‘decay’ bacteria cannot use this to produce acid as readily as common sugars). You can check the amount of sugar in food and drink by downloading Public Health England’s food scanner app found at: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.phe.c4lfoodsmart&hl=en_GB
- Reduce the number of acid attack episodes by reducing the frequency of sugar and acid intake. This permits the mouth and teeth to recover, neutralising acid attacks and restore their minerals. Between meal times water is the best ‘tooth-friendly’ drink, with healthy snacks such as breadsticks, vegetables, and cheese
- Limit Easter Eggs to pure chocolate (rather than sticky sweets), eaten at the end of a meal when the saliva flow in the mouth is greater. Saliva contains natural ‘neutralising’ qualities. You can then brush your teeth straight afterwards to prevent sugars remaining
- Dark chocolate contains higher cocoa and lower sugar content than milk chocolate, but should still be limited to meal-times only when the saliva flow is greatest.
- Consider alternative tooth friendly sweets e.g. Peppermint Tingz
- Regular twice daily (at least) tooth brushing for at least 2 minutes. Use an appropriate sized and textured toothbrush to remove food debris and sticky plaque which covers the surface of teeth shielding them from the beneficial effects of neutralising saliva and ‘healing’ minerals.
- Make tooth brushing fun! Child friendly toothbrush games may be found at : https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ucci.dtt or https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/brusheez-the-little-monsters-toothbrush-timer/id636357443?mt=8
- Floss between the teeth daily
- Use fluoridated toothpaste (supervised brushing for children under 6 years of age), and merely spit out excess toothpaste rather than rinse it all away
- Visit your dentist for regular check-ups. Your dentist will advise how often your check-up should be based upon your individual needs assessment done at your initial check-up and is reviewed each time you visit your dentist. Discuss prevention regimes, fluoride and fissure sealants with your dentist.
How soon should I bring my child to the Dentist?
It is generally advised that children attend a dentist for assessment once their first tooth begins to show in the mouth. New parents may wish to attend with their baby before this landmark event to seek more bespoke advice on their child’s diet, gums, and tooth development. All children under 18 years or under 19 and in full-time education are free on the NHS.
Free Event Easter Saturday!
In celebration of Easter, Oak Dental Practice invites children and their parents to join us at the practice for a Tooth-Friendly Easter Egg Hunt and individualised dietary, oral and dental advice.
For the tooth-friendly way to enjoy Easter, join us on Easter Saturday 31st March from 11am-3pm (open-house; no appointment necessary). New patients welcome!
Location: Oak Dental Practice, 1b Oak Road, Canvey Island, Essex SS8 7AX
For further details Tel: 01268 681282