For some, Easter means a big meal with family. For others, Easter means going to church and celebrating the season. For others, Easter means chocolate bunnies and Easter egg hunts. For still others, it’s all of the above!
Oral Health Trends – Dental Decay
Whether you’re 5 or 35, Easter candy can be incredibly tempting. Who doesn’t indulge in a little chocolate bunny or an assortment of Peeps when spring is in the air? However, too much of a good thing can be a very bad thing – 92% of adults age 20-64 have had cavities in their permanent teeth. In fact, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, each person in that same age group has an average of 3.28 decayed or missing permanent teeth and 13.65 decayed and missing permanent surfaces. And it’s not just grown-ups: The Pew Center on the States says that about 60% of children have dental decay.
Kids Teeth and Sugar
Abstaining from Easter candy is no fun for anybody. Asking a child to watch all their friends find and consume candy right in front of them while they’re left to munch on a celery stick is just cruel. A few simple tips can ensure that your child (or even you!) get to enjoy the fun treats while protecting their teeth in the meantime. Here are some ideas you can try:
- Don’t let sugary treats sit in your mouth for too long. Stick with candy that dissolves quickly or is chewable. Bacteria in the mouth feed off of sugar to create acidic reactions, and when there is a lot of sugar sitting on your teeth for long periods of time, the acid can damage the teeth enamel.
- Parents may want to limit how much Easter candy their child can eat, especially if he or she ended up with a lot of egg-hunt loot! One mom in our Mom’s Guide to kids dental health suggested letting the child eat as much candy as they want – IF they brush their teeth between each piece! What a brilliant idea to not become the “mean parent.” The amount of candy they consume is entirely up to them at this point.
- Try to have them eat all the candy they want in one sitting, and then get rid of the rest. Dragging out the candy consumption is actually worse for your teeth, because you’re consistently feeding sugar to the bacteria. If your kids eat a lot at once, then they can just brush their teeth and be done with it.
- Balance out the candy consumption with healthy snacks or a healthy meal that’s also good for you and your family’s teeth. These are good options even when you’re not trying to combat a sugar rush!
For more tips on how to keep a child’s teeth healthy, check out the Mom’s Guide to Caring for Little Teeth.