Easter is just around the corner and the Easter Bunny is busy preparing to pay children a visit! Fun activities such as Easter Egg hunts are highlights of this coming Easter long weekend.
However, Easter sees not only children but also adults eating more than their fair share of Easter eggs and sweets.
The Australian Dental Association (ADA) asks that all families use moderation when enjoying their Easter treats and remember to take care of their teeth.
“To ensure that everyone’s teeth stay as healthy as the Easter Bunny’s, we urge all families and children to follow a few simple steps”, Professor David Manton, Chair of the ADA’s Oral Health Committee advises:
- Have a sugar break the week before and the week after Easter, just to offset the sugar hits;
- Try to restrict sweet treats to meal times, rather than snacking on them between meals;
- Ensure children do not snack on sugary treats over a long period of time, as this prolongs the length of time that teeth are exposed to acid attacks;
- Chocolate is not the only culprit. Avoid the following snacks that are marketed as ‘healthy’ but in fact are high in sugar and get stuck in children’s teeth, leading to acid attacks which cause decay:
- Dried fruit, biscuits (sweet and savoury), fruit juice, muesli bars, crackers, breakfast cereals, flavoured milk, sweetened yoghurt, fruit bars, fruit slice, flavoured popcorn, canned fruit, baked goods (cakes) and banana bread;
- Ensure children brush their teeth well twice a day – don’t skip the important bedtime brushing; and
- Give children attractive alternatives such as toys, books or games – there are many other ways to have fun during Easter that do not involve only sweets.
Over 24,000 children aged 14 years or under were admitted to hospital last year due to dental conditions that were potentially preventable. Over half of six-year-olds have experienced tooth decay in their baby teeth and up to half of 12-year-olds have experienced tooth decay in their permanent teeth. Once a tooth experiences decay, it usually requires a lifetime of management, not to mention physical discomfort, and also may impact on that person’s smile.
“Easter is fun, but tooth decay is not”, Professor Manton said.
Professor Manton continued, “All families can still enjoy Easter so long as they consume their treats in moderation and continue their good oral health habits.”