The consumption of Easter treats is inevitable. However, the timing and frequency of your consumption of sugary treats is a key factor when it comes to dental health. Dr Paul O’Dwyer, group clinical advisor at Dental Care Ireland shares six tips to protect your teeth this Easter.
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Sugar is one of the main causes of tooth decay, and although most Easter eggs contain a quantity of sugar, there are ways you can minimise the potential damage and protect your teeth this Easter.
Six Tips to Protect your Teeth this Easter
#1. Remember Your Routine
As teeth may be exposed to more sugar and acid over the Easter period, it is important to remember to maintain your dental care routine. Ideally everyone in the family should brush their teeth twice daily for two minutes with fluoride toothpaste, floss once per day, or more if needed, and drink plenty of water.
After eating an Easter egg, it is best to wait 30 minutes before brushing. Some acidic foods soften your enamel, so if you brush right after eating them, you can risk damaging your enamel further while it is still sensitive.
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#2. Save Easter Treats For After Dinner
Saliva production increases during meals. The production of saliva helps to rinse away sugary food particles and can help reduce the risk of cavities and protect your teeth. So instead of grazing on Easter eggs, sweets or biscuits throughout the day, incorporate them into your meal as a dessert.
#3. Wash Easter Treats Down With Water
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.
Where possible, avoid fizzy drinks and stick to water. Also keep fruit drinks and smoothies to an occasional treat. Often they are viewed as healthy but the high sugar content in some of these drinks, can be damaging to your teeth.
#4. Don’t Let Easter Treats Linger
The length of time sugary food stays in your mouth can affect tooth decay. Avoid, where possible, treats that tend to linger in the mouth, such as hard or sticky sweets, as they will do the most damage.
Also seasonal favourites, such as hot cross buns contain dried fruit and are high in sugar, making them more likely to stick to teeth. Manage the frequency of snacking to avoid damage to your teeth.
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#5. Try A Mouth-Cleansing Snack
Some snacks will stimulate the production of saliva which helps to wash away chocolate and other sugary foods. Having a snack of carrots, celery or apples can all help reduce damage caused by sugar.
Alternatively, a small piece of cheese eaten after chocolate will help return the mouth to its natural acid balance and reduce the chances of developing tooth decay.
#6. Schedule An Easter Dental Check-Up
Regular dental check-ups are important and can avert future problems. During the Easter holidays is a perfect time to schedule a dental appointment. Having teeth checked before Easter arrives with all the inevitable sugary treats, may help everyone in the family think before they get munching!
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Dr Paul O’Dwyer BDS, MSc is group clinical advisor at Dental Care Ireland, an Irish-owned network of local dental practices nationwide.
Over to you now. Any other tips for teeth for Easter time? Share them with us in the comments below.