April 16, 2019
Dr. Steven Airey is a dentist not a monster, so he won’t insist that you skip candy for your child’s Easter basket. That said, some treats are worse for your child’s teeth than others.
Check out Dr. Airey’s dos and don’ts for the best Easter candy for the bunny to bring your kids. Then if you have any questions or need to make an appointment for your children or other family members, call Appalachian Dental Care at 828-355-5673.
No matter what kind of candy your kids eat, it’s important to make sure they brush and floss their teeth every day and bring them at least twice a year for professional dental cleanings. We might also recommend preventive treatments like fluoride and/or dental sealants for additional protection against cavities.
Don’t Give Hard Candies, Sticky Treats, or Sour Items
Three of the worst choices you can make for your child’s Easter candy are hard candies, sticky treats, and sour items. All of them contain lots of sugar, but that’s not the worst of it.
Hard candies like lollipops and jawbreakers can crack or even break your child’s teeth. They’re called “jawbreakers” for a reason! A tooth damaged on hard candy will require a restorative dentistry repair – something a young person shouldn’t have to think about for years to come.
It’s also best to skip sour candies and sticky treats like jellybeans, caramels, or taffy. To explain why, here’s a quick lesson in dental decay. When sticky, bacteria-filled plaque collects on your teeth, it uses the sugar you ingest to produce acid. The acid, not the sugar itself, is what damages tooth enamel and leads to cavities.
Sour candies are very high in acid. The worst kinds of sour candies are ones that your children suck on or chew for extended periods of time; this gives the acid a chance to do lots of damage to teeth. In fact, your children shouldn’t brush for at least an hour or so after consuming this kind of candy as they’ll risk damaged their weakened tooth enamel. Have them rinse their mouth with water instead of brushing.
Sticky candies tend to get caught in the tiny grooves on the surfaces of teeth and in between teeth too. These areas are easy to miss when brushing teeth. Sticky substances also don’t rinse away very well with saliva.
Do Give Chocolate Treats & Sugarfree Gum
Go ahead and get that chocolate bunny! Chocolate dissolves fairly quickly and easily in the mouth, so sugar is washed away. It’s also easy to remove traces of chocolate by brushing. Since dark chocolate contains substances that actually help inhibit bacterial growth in the mouth, it’s a better choice than milk chocolate.
One of the best choices for Easter candy is sugarfree gum. Chewing increases the flow of saliva and helps neutralize and wash away the damaging acids. You might want to look for gum that contains xylitol. Research indicates that xylitol helps fight cavities in several ways: it increases the pH level in your mouth, making it less hospitable to bacteria; it disrupts bacteria’s ability to produce acid; and it cuts down on the slimy substance that makes up plaque. Look for gum with the ADA’s seal of approval.
Do Use Portion Control
No matter what kind of Easter candy you choose, it’s best to control the size of portions. Give kids several small candy bars instead of one large one. Individually wrapped treats like chocolate eggs are a good idea too, since they provide built-in portion control. It will take children a while to eat a big bunny or other oversized treat, which means that harmful substances linger longer on their teeth.
Do Consider Non-Candy Treats
Consider including other treats to cut down on the amount of Easter candy in your child’s basket. Young children like jump ropes, bubbles, small stuffed toys, and sidewalk chalk. You can even buy chalk in fun Easter shapes like chicks and eggs. Tweens and teens will appreciate gift cards for iTunes, Amazon, or their favorite stores. Older kids also may like lip balm. EOS lip balm comes in bright, egg-shaped containers that are just right for Easter.
If you have questions about Easter candy or anything else related to your child’s dental care, call Appalachian Dental Care at 828-355-5673.