For many, celebrating the Easter season has just passed and while we know that means different things to different people – one thing is universally true – Easter is synonymous with chocolate. What’s the problem you ask? Well, for some, where there’s chocolate there’s a challenge. The challenge we face might have to do with cleaning teeth after we eat, or the challenge could be that perhaps we’re eating too much. Finally, the challenge for some is about where and when we eat. So today I ask you, where’s the chocolate?
The Easter Bunny isn’t the only “person” that likes to hide chocolate. Kids do too. Maybe they hide it so they can eat it on their own schedule or maybe they’re hiding it from you because you “sneak” a little bite every time you enter their room! Regardless of the reasons the point is it’s hidden. When that happens there’s also a pretty good chance that it will be consumed without your knowledge and without any brushing happening after the fact. So – it’s time to “come clean” about where the chocolate is – in the name of teeth everywhere!
- The worst time to eat chocolate is right before bed. Many (adults included) think slipping one little egg into the mouth as a treat before bed (or as a reward for good behaviour) is just fine. Unfortunately, that leaves a sticky, sugary filled film to settle on your teeth all night long…and where there’s sugar, there’s a problem. Bacteria in the mouth can turn sugars into acids that in turn can lead to tooth decay. Enjoying that little treat before bed is fine as long as you are brushing afterbut enjoying your treat in bed, without brushing, is a no-no. You might want to spend some time figuring out where your kids have hidden their “stash.” I bet they’re better at hiding than the Easter Bunny!
- Slipping a chocolate into your child’s lunch box. Well if you have school-aged children, this time of year you might face the temptation to send a little treat to school. My Teacher friends tell me please don’t! Excessive sugar can have an adverse impact on some children (never mind a class of 30!) and there is also of course the issue of allergies in the classroom. It could be the chocolate being sent places another child at risk. Not to mention – most children don’t have the opportunity to brush their teeth after lunch, once again meaning that sugary residue is sitting on teeth for too long.
- Milk Chocolate is worse than dark chocolate. You may have heard this before and may even have read that dark chocolate is good for you. Guess what? You are absolutely correct! Dark chocolate on average contains more pure cocoa and far less sugar, making it in fact, a healthier option. Containing a ratio of about 70% cocoa to 30% sugars, the damaging impact on tooth enamel isn’t as great. That said, and addressed in my previous blog, if you are going to eat a treat – even something like dark chocolate – the best time to do so is with a meal. Perhaps, if you’re dealing with a picky eater, offering a chocolate treat at the end of a meal might just be all the encouragement they need.
- Chocolate freezes well. It does! If you find your children were spoiled by Aunts, Uncles and Grandma too, sit down together to negotiate a reasonable amount for consumption both Now and in the Future. Use clearly labeled Ziploc bags with each child’s name on it so there is no fighting about who has more chocolate “leftover.” Agree to a timeline and schedule and your child will learn the benefit of future planning, have something to look forward to and you’ll have the satisfaction of having prevented battles about both consumption and regular brushing!
You have some work to do. Get up now and go and take a look for where the chocolate is hidden in your house. You might even find a couple of eggs left by the Easter Bunny but missed by the kids! If you do, we at Brinkley Dental aren’t complete “ogres” – pop that extra chocolate into your mouth before anyone even knows you found it! Just be sure to brush your teeth after and this seems like as good a time as any to say: “don’t forget to be a BFF with your mouth and Brush that SMILE!”