If Easter is a holiday you celebrate in your home, there’s a good chance you have some chocolate sitting around your house right now that either you’re trying to avoid sneaking a bite or two, or you’re trying to control how much the kids have access to. Either scenario means this is a time of year you need to be extra vigilant when it comes to oral health care. Avoiding the “Easter Overload” isn’t just on the day itself but typically something that stretches out far longer than the actual day itself! Here are a few tips and tools for managing the excess.
- Now that the excitement has died down it might be easier to hide the chocolate – not like the Easter Bunny does but rather, hiding it so you can control it!
- Depending on the age of your children, involve them in the negotiations about how much chocolate each day is appropriate and when it’s ok to have a treat. This is not only a lesson in moderation but also an opportunity to talk about healthy snacks and mealtimes too.
- Chocolate after a meal is probably ok, but before bedtime is not – even if you are brushing teeth regularly. Sugary chocolate right before bed is not only bad for teeth but can be bad in general in terms of the sugary rush and the potential for creating bad habits around snacking right before bed.
- If you are in the habit of involving your children in preparing lunches for school, make sure they aren’t sneaking some chocolate into the lunch bag. First – there are strict rules in most schools around what is allowed at school and secondly, with little or no opportunity to brush teeth after lunch, all that sugar is just going to sit around all afternoon, potentially wreaking havoc on your child’s teeth, mouth and gums.
- Of course, it isn’t just chocolate we need to worry about but any sugary treat – in fact, some are much worse than chocolate. Gummy candies, coated in sugar or hard candy that’s difficult to bite can both cause more lasting damage. Believe it or not, a dental office will often see a case or two of a cracked or chipped tooth around this time of year! The sticky type of candy can lodge itself between teeth and be particularly troublesome unless you or your child is flossing regularly.
- Finally – this is a great time to talk not only about boundaries but also brushing and flossing. In other words, part of the discussion with your children is acknowledging that chocolate is a treat and treats are ok but after enjoying one it’s time to brush and floss!
As for those parents who are “sampling” a little bit of chocolate from their children’s stash, our only advice is to be careful how much you try. Kids are pretty savvy these days, there’s a good chance they’ve actually counted how many little eggs the Easter Bunny left behind. If you’re on “Easter Overload” and overdo it on the sampling, you’ll be the one caught “sneaking a treat” – not your little ones! Contact the Brinkley Dental Team in Brampton to talk about all your oral health care needs anytime and as always, we’ll leave you with this gentle reminder: “Don’t forget to be a BFF with your mouth and brush that smile!”