At Easter people traditionally treat themselves to chocolate eggs and sugary snacks more than usual. As a consequence, this can cause more harm than good to your teeth. To help you out over the Easter period, we’ve put together five top tips to help you minimise the risk of tooth decay.
- Choose dark chocolate and avoid sticky sweets
Many Easter treats are of the sugary variety, so if you have the option between chocolate or toffee, select chocolate – it is far less destructive. You’ll find that dark chocolate has less than light chocolate, however all chocolate is washed away by saliva quite quickly, compared to toffee where substances stay on the tooth surfaces and allow more acid production. Crowns can be pulled off by toffees, so therefore its recommended to stay clear.
- Don’t brush your teeth straight away
It’s important to remember to brush your teeth before eating so that the tooth surface hasn’t been weakened by acid caused from plaque. It may come across as a good idea to brush right after you eat, but this in fact can be extremely harmful. Plaque, which is a mixture of bacteria on the surface of our teeth, converts sugar to acid and that acid dissolves the minerals on the surface of the teeth. This goes on for about an hour after we’ve eaten, until saliva neutralises the acid. Then within saliva there are minerals, which then go back onto the surface of the teeth if there is a gap before the next acid attack.
- Eat chocolate at meal times
At Easter it is virtually impossible to avoid chocolate, so minimise the damage it does to your teeth by eating it at meal times. Snacking can become easy to do all day long, but it’s important to stay disciplined and keep food to three times a day. Whenever you have something sweet, acid production goes on for about an hour, so if children are snacking every hour the teeth remain bathed in acid. Acid attacks are restricted to three times a day when you don’t snack between meals. This will not only help keep your waistline trim, but also keep your wallet healthy when you next visit the dentist.
- Drink plenty of water and use a straw
As Easter has two bank holidays, it can also be a time to go out for meal or drinks with friends. Using a straw when drinking fizzy drinks, fruit juices and white wines can help protect your teeth. All three are high in acid so drinking them through a straw will help prevent that acid from coming into contact with and dissolving minerals from the surface of your teeth.
- Chips and broken teeth
If you are unfortunate to chip bits off your teeth over the Easter period, provided it is not painful, then you can wait until the after bank holiday weekend to see their dentist. However, if the broken surface is rubbing against their tongue or the tooth is sensitive, it’s a good idea to see your dentist as soon as possible.