With Easter just around the corner, grocery store aisles are filled to the brim with chocolate bunnies, Peeps, and candy-coated eggs. The temptation to eat sweets is increasing. But before you go diving into that bag of jelly beans, keep in mind that Easter sweets can be hard on tooth enamel.
While you may think that you can have candy “just this once,” the more you indulge, the more likely you’ll be to reach for another Cadbury egg. All that sugar can wreak havoc in your mouth.
Unfortunately, sugary confections can change the structure of children’s teeth, increase oral bacteria, and create dental problems like cavities.
Holidays bring in a lot of money for candy companies, but for kids — and parents — it’s an opportunity to develop healthy eating habits that can be carried into adulthood.
Avoid bad habits and premature tooth decay by steering clear of these 4 popular Easter treats.
In addition to high sugar content, Peeps are notorious for containing harmful dyes: Yellow No. 5 and Yellow No. 6. These dyes give Peeps their bright, canary yellow coloring, but they also contribute to hyperactivity in children and cause tooth decay.
Alternative: Sweet potato chicks, bunnies, and eggs
Instead of Peeps, opt for sweet potatoes cut into fun Easter shapes like chicks, bunnies, flowers, and eggs. Check out this sweet potato recipe you can make at home. To add a hint of natural sweetness, top your “treats” with cinnamon or dried fruits.
2. Milk Chocolate Bunnies
Depending on how large milk chocolate bunnies are, they usually take several days to eat completely. Unfortunately, consuming chocolate over an extended period of time increases your tooth enamel’s exposure to sugars and acids. When you repeatedly subject your teeth to these harmful substances, it can cause tooth decay.
Alternative: Dark chocolate bunnies
Instead of sugary milk chocolate, opt for dark chocolate (70% cacao or higher). In addition to containing less sugar than milk chocolate, dark chocolate is surprisingly good for your body and your teeth! Cacao provides antioxidants that your teeth need to help fight against plaque and tooth decay, and it also prevents periodontal disease. Just make sure you choose a small dark chocolate bunny and forgo larger portions of chocolate that take more than one sitting to eat.
3. Cadbury Eggs
The high sugar content of Cadbury eggs (chocolate-covered creme or caramel eggs) cause damage to teeth. Their filling also contains corn syrup which contributes to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
Alternative: Deviled eggs with natural dye
Instead of Cadbury eggs, make homemade deviled eggs. You can even dye your eggs a rainbow of colors with natural dyes made from everyday ingredients such as turmeric, beets, cabbage, onions, and hibiscus. Check out this recipe for homemade Easter egg dyes.
4. Jelly Beans
Jelly beans are small, chewy candies that oftentimes get stuck between the teeth. When candies such as jelly beans become lodged in between the teeth, it causes oral bacteria growth and damage to the tooth enamel.
Alternative: Dark chocolate covered almonds or cacao nibs
Instead of jelly beans, try almonds or cacao nibs. Almonds contain calcium and fiber which triggers saliva production to help your teeth fight plaque, and the crystalline extract in cacao nibs strengthens tooth enamel.
How to prevent cavities after indulging on candy
Oral bacteria thrives on simple sugars found in candy. As these bacteria feast on the food in your mouth, they produce an acid that decays tooth enamel and leads to cavities.
Here are four ways to help prevent cavities after eating treats:
1. Drink water while eating candy
When you’re chewing on candy, drink water in between bites. This will help quickly rid your teeth of sugary residue.
2. Swish water after eating candy
Swishing water around in your mouth helps to remove bits and pieces of your candy that may have become lodged between your teeth.
3. Don’t eat candy all day
Try to eat candy in one sitting. If you continuously consume sweets throughout the day, you’ll end up repeatedly exposing your teeth to the sugar and acid that cause increased oral bacteria production.
4. Wait to brush your teeth
Acid wears away enamel; however, brushing your teeth immediately after eating candy can cause more damage to your teeth. Wait at least 30 minutes to an hour before brushing your teeth so you don’t erode the enamel.
Visit Rasmussen Dental to have your teeth cleaned this spring
Don’t let the abundance of sweet treats get in the way of having healthy teeth this spring season.
To keep your teeth healthy, schedule a cleaning at Rasmussen Dental. Our family dental practice can check your tooth enamel and polish your pearly whites to help you maintain a healthy smile this spring.