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Don’t let Easter eggs damage your teeth

Have you ever wondered how many chocolate eggs are consumed in the UK at Easter? The answer – an incredible 90 million. Of course, chocolate helps to put a smile on your face, but don’t let overconsumption of sugar spoil your smile. When you look at just how much sugar goes into Easter eggs, you may wish to rethink how you and your family celebrate.

According to consumer research, a typical medium-sized Easter egg contains an average of 55-65% added sugar. To understand just what that looks like, think of it this way – that’s equivalent to 23 teaspoons of sugar! This is almost four times the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) daily maximum recommended amount for a six-year-old child. And that’s before we even mention larger or deluxe eggs, in which the sugar content can rise to as much as 30 teaspoons! We all know that sugar is bad for both our health and teeth in general, but what exactly does it do to our teeth? What better time than now to look at this all-important question.

Sugar content in numbers

The website safefood.eu, run by the government of Ireland, offers some thought-provoking facts and figures about just how much sugar we can expect our children to consume at Easter:

and figures about just how much sugar we can expect our children to consume at Easter:

66%

 Highest sugar content found in an Easter egg

24

 Average number of teaspoons of sugar in a medium Easter egg

73

 Number of teaspoons of sugar in a large egg with two chocolate bars

13 – 28

 Average number of teaspoons of sugar in a chocolate bunny

6

 Maximum recommended sugar intake for a 6 year old child in teaspoons

What does sugar do to teeth?

Your mouth is a self-contained ecosystem that contains many different bacteria, both good and bad. In order to stay healthy, it is important to control this environment, particularly when it comes to sugar levels. When you consume a lot of sugar, this upsets the balance and creates a perfect breeding ground for harmful bacteria, which feed on the sugar in your mouth and create acids. These quickly start attacking the surface of your teeth.

This shiny protective layer known as enamel plays a vital role in protecting the more delicate inner layers of your teeth, which is called dentin. The enamel also plays a vital role in protecting the root. If the enamel or dentine is damaged, you are likely to experience pain and discomfort, and even risk losing your tooth.

What are dental cavities or cavies?

Dental cavities, sometimes known as dental caries or simply tooth decay, are terms used to describe damage to the enamel and/or dentine of your teeth, which occurs as a result of acid caused by bacteria in your mouth. In many cases, this is not visible to the untrained eye in the early stages, but your dentist will be able to instantly recognise the signs during your routine examination.

Once cavities begin to form, they can quickly become problematic. If not identified and treated, they can cause pain, discomfort and ultimately loss of teeth.

How can I prevent cavities?

The good news is, dental cavities are largely preventable by simply taking a proactive approach to your dental hygiene. One of the most effective preventative measures is limiting your sugar intake. As well as reducing the amount of sweet foods and drinks you consume, dentists recommend that both adults and children avoid consuming sugar between mealtimes.

Good brushing is also vital to prevent tooth decay. Always ensure that you and your children brush teeth twice a day for at least two minutes, using a fluoride toothpaste. Adults may wish to floss and use mouthwash as well, but it is recommended that you avoid rinsing directly after brushing as this will wash away the fluoride protection from your toothpaste and therefore reduce the benefits of brushing.

Because Easter coincides with the school holiday period, it is easy to take a more relaxed approach to the household routine during this time. Try to make sure that even if other rules are relaxed, teeth brushing is never skipped.

Visit your dentist regularly

While limiting sugar intake and keeping to a good oral hygiene regime play a significant part in protecting your family’s teeth, nothing replaces regular appointments with your dental team, who will be able to monitor the health of your teeth and gums and look out for the early signs of tooth decay. Together with the hygienist, your dentist can also offer personalised advice to help you and your family keep your mouths in the best possible shape.

We would like to wish all of our patients a happy Easter and encourage adults and children alike to be tooth aware and indulge responsibly. To book an appointment now or enquire about becoming a member, call Oak Mount Dental Practice today on 0161 445 1211.

References:

https://www.safefood.eu/Healthy-Eating/Food,-Diet-and-Health/Seasonal-Features/How-much-sugar-is-in-your-Easter-eggs.aspx

https://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2015/sugar-guideline/en/

Posted by Oak Mount Dental Practice

Website last updated: June 2022

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