Posted on 9th April 2020
Easter and chocolate go hand-in-hand, but some smart advice from the Australian Dental Association of WA means you can still enjoy the fun of Easter and keep a healthy smile.
Tooth decay is the single most common chronic childhood disease. It’s 5 times more common than asthma, 4 times more common than early-childhood obesity, and 20 times more common than diabetes. Given that we can’t have our regular dental check-ups due to Covid-19 restrictions, it’s more important than ever to look after our teeth at home!
“Data from the Australian Oral Health Tracker indicates that 48% of adults and a staggering 75% of children eat too much sugar,” head of the Oral Health Committee and spokesperson for the Australian Dental Association of Western Australia, Dr Fleur Creeper, reveals. “Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease, but simple measures such as good oral hygiene and reducing sugary foods and drinks can go a long way to reducing tooth decay, and it doesn’t mean missing out on all the fun of Easter.”
Dr Creeper recommends the following:
Eat your chocolate in one sitting
It might seem strange to hear a dentist say to eat your chocolate in one go but having a treat day is better for your teeth than eating your chocolate eggs and sweets over several days. Why? Every single time you eat sugar-laden goods, plaque bacteria on your teeth will convert added sugars into acids – and this can result in tooth decay. Eating your chocolate eggs after a main meal is also beneficial, because your mouth produces more saliva when you are eating a meal.
Choose chocolate over lollies
Sticky lollies will stay on the teeth for longer than chocolate. When it comes to chocolate – remember that all types are not created equal when it comes to oral health. Dark chocolate is the best option because it tends to have less sugar than milk chocolate and is a source of polyphenols, which may help reduce oral bacteria and have and also antioxidant effect.
Ditch the sugary drinks
You might be eating more chocolate than usual over the Easter break, so don’t add to your sugar intake by drinking sugary drinks. Tap water is always the best choice for healthy teeth.
Give treats that aren’t food
Why not buck the trend of giving chocolate and give something that will not be bad for your child’s teeth? Stickers, stamps or art supplies are fun options that many children will love.
Care for your teeth between brushing
If you have had some sugary Easter treats in between meals, you can help care for your teeth between brushing by chewing a sugar-free gum, rinsing your mouth with water or eating acid-neutralising food such as plain milk or a hard cheese.
Remember good oral health
Always brush your teeth twice a day with a fluoridated toothpaste, flossing daily and remember to visit your dentist regularly to help keep your smile happy and healthy.
Dr Fleur Creeper’s top tips to keep your smile healthy year-round