Easter is just days away, and as a parent, you know your child is excited at the prospect of family fun, Easter egg hunts, and gorging on as much chocolate as possible.
While sugary treats from the Easter bunny are sure to put a smile on your child’s face, they can also make teeth more susceptible to tooth decay and cavities.
You may wonder how to help your child avoid cavities at a time filled with sugary treats. Lucky for you, Foxbury Dental has all the tips you need to protect your child’s smile (and yours, too 😊).
Kids and Easter, a toxic mix
The NHS recommends that children aged 4 to 6 should not exceed 19g of free sugars (sugar added to food and drinks) or five sugar cubes a day, and those aged 7-10 should be limited to 24 gr or six sugar cubes. While there’s no guideline for children under 4, the NHS says to avoid giving them food or drinks sweetened with sugar.
It’s not hard to exceed this limit over Easter when a small Cadbury’s Crème Egg contains a whopping 26.5 gr of sugar.
So, what are the dangers of sugar to children?
Excessive sugar can lead to cavities in children and cause a build-up of ‘invisible’ fat inside, which we can’t see. This can lead to obesity and serious illnesses like type-2 diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers.
So how can you let your child enjoy the Easter festivities but stop them from suffering dental problems after?
Here are our six tips for you:
1. Be smart with your choice of Easter egg
There’s nothing to say you have to buy your kids a full chocolate Easter egg. Instead, why not stick to a small hollow chocolate egg? That way, you’ll give your child less sugar, but they will still feel like they’re receiving something enjoyable.
Another tip is to avoid chocolate eggs that include bags of mini eggs or jellies. Foods such as jelly babies, caramels and gummy bears tend to stick between the teeth and are difficult to rinse out, meaning the sugar stays in the mouth for longer, causing damage to the tooth enamel.
Alternatively, consider going sugar-free and (with the help of your children) make your own eggs at home. Here’s a recipe for a sugar-free peanut butter egg – but be careful. They’re so yummy you may be tempted to eat more than one.
2. Get your child on-board
Now is a good time to alert your child to the hidden dangers of sugar. Naturally, you don’t want to scare them off, but you’ll be surprised how even small children can see sense when armed with the correct information.
3. Organise a treasure hunt
While a small egg may keep children occupied for a short while, there’s more to Easter than eating chocolate. Why not organise a treasure hunt around the house or garden? Hide a variety of tiny chocolate treats and other small non-chocolate gifts and give them to map and clues to help them find the treasure. It’s an excellent way for kids to celebrate Easter and partake in a few treats without going overboard.
4. Maintain oral hygiene
When partaking in so much chocolate, maintaining oral hygiene is more important than ever. But if your child gets distracted and forgets to brush their teeth correctly, all that sugar could lead to plaque and cavities.
Amid all the excitement, don’t forget to ensure your child brushes their teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste at least twice on Easter day. They should also floss at least once. It’s essential to ensure this practice continues after Easter to maintain a gleaming, healthy smile, especially if there are sweet leftovers to finish off.
Since sugar and acid remain in the mouth after eating, waiting 30 minutes before brushing is best to allow tooth enamel to remineralise and rejuvenate. Encourage your child to rinse their mouth with water immediately after eating to help neutralise any remaining acids.
5. Plan in treats during mealtimes
It’s not just the amount of chocolate and treats that can cause tooth decay, but the number of times your child snacks during the day. Each time sugary foods are consumed, bacteria attack their tooth enamel.
Over time, frequent acid attacks can destroy the tooth structure. Instead, consider setting aside time for sugary snacks, such as letting your child have part of their Easter egg as a dessert after their main meal.
6. Offer your child water
Water is one of the best things you can give your child over Easter. Water contains no sugar and is pH neutral. To lower your child’s additional sugar intake during the Easter period, replace sweet fruit juices and fizzy drinks with water.
Not only does water help rinse away acid and food debris, but it’s the best way for children to stay hydrated throughout an action-packed day.
Water helps maintain body temperature, restores lost fluids, and aids day-to-day functionality.
The last word
Finally, alongside the sweet Easter treats, don’t forget to include plenty of nutritious foods such as vegetables, fruit, plain yoghurt and cheese to help reduce plaque build-up on your child’s teeth. These foods help to stimulate saliva and keep teeth clean, which also helps protect from bacteria that cause tooth decay and cavities. It’s better to be safe than sorry, so why not bring your child along to Foxbury after Easter so we can examine their teeth and give the all-clear? Call us today on 01858 455 100 or make an appointment or book online.