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Dental care over Easter

Easter Sunday is just around the corner, and that means many things to many people. To a lot of people, it means a whole world of chocolate is about to enter your world, and with the delicious eggs, there’s a none-too-healthy dose of sugar that comes with it.

And with sugar comes bad news for your teeth.

Most Australian adults typically consume the equivalent of 16 teaspoons of sugar a day, while the World Health Organisation recommends just six teaspoons (24g) a day, less than half of what’s being consumed.

Based on the available research, Dr Herle says: “I don’t want to stop anyone from having fun over Easter, but the best advice I can offer you is to eat your chocolate over a short period this year, rather than eating it consistently over a long period of time. Do this, and you’re better able to reduce the harm sugar does to your teeth.”

When eating sugary treats and drinking acidic and sweet drinks, try to have these along with your meal. Snacking and sipping sugars and acid over an hour or two just increases the time you allow the acids to weaken your enamel, compared to having it right after meals. And don’t forget to get the sticky chunky bits off your teeth as soon as you can. They just concentrate the sugars and hold them against your teeth for maximum damage. If you’re out and about and can’t rinse, a simple swish with a mouthful of water before drinking it will do. 

Eating sugar feeds bacteria, which creates acid, breaking down your teeth’s enamel, subsequently causing decay. Eating Easter eggs well into the week – or weeks – after Easter Sunday is compounding the problem. Just check out this chart to see the full range of easter eggs and the sugar content they contain. Just one specific example is worth noting: the popular and gooey Cadbury Crème Egg has 6.5g of sugar – which is just over two thirds of the total contents of that particular treat.

Food for thought, right there.

But it’s not just about the eggs. A traditional hot cross bun has 16.9g of sugar, which is 19% of your recommended daily sugar intake. Consider the fact that supermarkets tend to stock their shelves with hot cross buns as soon as Christmas is over, and you can see just how much sugar is being consumed by the public over time.

Also, while your enjoyment of the Easter festivities and treats is taking place, a couple of tips from Dr Loh will see you through the holiday period with most of your teeth better placed to remain intact:

  • chew sugar-free gum to stimulate saliva after meals
  • rinse your mouth with water after eating anything sugary to help neutralize acid attacks.
  • If having sugary treats, try having them with the rest of your meal, this way the other food and drink will help move the sugary chunks off your teeth. 
  • Whatever your method, don’t leave sticky chunks on your teeth. Holding sugar against your teeth for extended periods can cause maximum decay and damage. 

They’re relatively easy steps to take, but you’ll benefit from them in the long term.

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