With Easter around the corner, we know many of our patients will be indulging in a chocolate treat or two. You might be asking, “Isn’t chocolate bad for my teeth?”. We believe the importance in enjoying the foods we love, and this includes the sweet treat every now and then.
Here are a few tips to keep your teeth healthy over the Easter holidays.
SWAP MILK CHOCOLATE FOR DARK CHOCOLATE
Crumbling dark chocolate is a healthier choice than milk chocolate. Chocolate can actually be beneficial for your health… IF it’s dark chocolate. And not just any dark chocolate. It has to contain at least 70% cocoa.
Dark chocolate generally contains less sugar so already, it’s better for your oral health. Apart from that, it’s also a powerful source of antioxidants, helping to improve blood flow. It also reduces your risk for heart disease. In saying that, this doesn’t mean you should go eat your bodyweight in dark chocolate. It’s still loaded with calories. But if you’re able to substitute milk chocolate for the darker variety, then it’s a win-win!
AVOID CHEWY/STICKY TREATS
Before we dip our hands in assorted easter treats, it might be worthwhile noting: to stay away from chocolates with caramel, nougat, gummies or even taffy lollies. These sticky treats can get stuck for hours as our teeth have many crevices and ridges, risking decay.
When having to choose chocolate over chewy or hard candy; choose chocolate. Chewy and hard lolly treats stay in the mouth longer than most other foods, allowing cavity-causing bacteria to thrive and create plaque. Chocolate, on the other hand dissolves easily, which means the sugar has less contact with your teeth. After eating Easter treats, it is important to drink plenty of water to rinse away the sugar. The water will help to dilute any acid attacks caused by sugary snacks.
EAT CHOCOLATE AT MEAL TIMES- DONT GRAZE
The worst thing you can do is ‘graze’ on your Easter sweet treats – that is, nibble away regularly for a prolonged period.
The more frequently that you eat, the longer your tooth enamel is exposed to cavity-causing acids, so it’s much better to eat in a single sitting and wait several hours before eating again. This is because your saliva begins to neutralise the acids that are formed by the bacteria in your mouth around 20 minutes after you stop eating. Ideally, eat your chocolate bunny after a meal. A good tactic is to follow a sweet indulgence with an apple or carrot, because the texture of the crisp fruit will help scour some of the plaque from your teeth.
BRUSHING YOUR TEETH – but not straight after your chocolate!
Food and drinks high in sugar soften the enamel (white coating) of the tooth, so it is important that you wait at least 30 minutes before brushing and allowing your saliva to neutralise the harmful acids– as you don’t want to cause enamel erosion!
Remember to maintain good daily oral hygiene. You should aim to brush your teeth for 2 minutes twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and a soft bristle brush. Also remember to include your interdental cleaning aids.
Visit the Dentist
After the Easter bunny has been and gone and the Easter egg wrappers are the only evidence of your yearly indulgences, you may want to make appointments for the whole family at the dentist for a clean and check-up.
By using these simple tips and making them a part of your daily dental hygiene habits, you can have beautiful, disease-free teeth and enjoy the sweet treats of Easter and every other chocolate-filled holiday too.
Happy Easter from all of us at Albany Dental!