From jelly beans to chocolate bunnies to Peeps, Easter is a time when many of us indulge in candy. We would never tell you to completely skip sweet treats, but you can make the holiday easier on your teeth by making smart candy choices and by following some oral hygiene best practices.
Check out this Easter candy advice from your dentist. If you have any questions about what you read or would like to make an appointment, call 1st In Smiles in Plano, TX at 972-380-8105.
No matter what kind of candy you end up eating, you should brush and floss your teeth every day and visit us at least twice a year for professional dental cleanings. Dr. Rick Barfield may also recommend preventive treatments like fluoride and/or dental sealants for you or your children to help keep teeth cavity-free.
Skip Sticky Stuff, Sour Candies & Hard Candies
It’s best to leave hard candies, sticky treats, and sour items out of Easter baskets. They contain plenty of sugar, but that’s only part of the problem. Lollipops, jawbreakers, and similar hard candies can crack or even break teeth. A tooth damaged by hard candy will require a restorative dentistry repair – something we’re sure you’d rather not have to worry about at Easter, or any other time!
Skip sticky treats like jellybeans, caramels, and taffy too. They often become lodged in the tiny grooves on the surfaces of teeth and in between your teeth too. These areas are easy to miss when brushing teeth. Sticky stuff also tends to linger on teeth, because it doesn’t rinse away very well with saliva.
Sour candies, which are very high in acid, are one of the worst choices for the Easter basket. Acid eats away at tooth enamel, making it susceptible to decay. The worst offenders are candies that are sucked on or chewed for extended periods of time; this gives the acid a chance to really do a number on teeth. In fact, we recommend not brushing for at least an hour after eating these kinds of candies; doing so any sooner risks damaging your weakened tooth enamel. Rinse your mouth with water instead, then make sure you brush later.
Chocolate Is a Good Choice, Sugarless Gum Even Better
You won’t mind this Easter candy advice from your dentist. Go ahead and load up on the chocolate eggs and bunnies! Because chocolate dissolves fairly quickly and easily in your mouth, it’s one of the better choices you can make. Dark chocolate is even better than milk chocolate, because it contains substances that help inhibit bacterial growth in the mouth.
An even better option is sugarfree gum. Chewing increases the flow of saliva and helps neutralize and wash away the damaging acids. So you might benefit from chewing a piece of gum after enjoying your other Easter treats.
Look for gum that carries the ADA’s seal of approval and lists xylitol as an ingredient. Research shows that xylitol helps deter decay in several ways:
- It increases the pH level in saliva, so your mouth is less hospitable to bacteria
- It disrupts bacteria’s ability to produce acid
- It cuts down on the slimy substance that makes up plaque
Portion Control Is Important
No matter which kind of candy you choose, it’s best to control the size of your portions. A hollow bunny is better than a solid one. Several small candy bars are better than a single large one. Individually wrapped treats like chocolate eggs are a good idea too, with their built-in portion control. The longer it takes to consume treats, the more likely they’ll do damage to your teeth.
Non-candy Treats Are Fun Too
Not all of the Easter candy advice from your dentist involves candy. You can give other treats to reduce the amount of candy in Easter baskets. Good choices or young children include jump ropes, bubbles, small stuffed toys, and sidewalk chalk. Chalk even comes in fun Easter shapes like chicks and eggs. Gift cards for iTunes, Amazon, or their favorite stores work well for tweens and teens. Older kids and adults may like lip balm. EOS lip balm comes in bright, egg-shaped containers that look great in an Easter basket.
If you have questions about this Easter candy advice from your dentist or anything else related to your dental care, call 1st in Smiles at 972-380-8105.