It’s that time of the year again – chocolate eggs are circulating offices everywhere and kids are on the hunt for those delicious little treats. But if there's one thing we do know about chocolate, it's that it is filled with sugar, which can ultimately lead to tooth decay.
Easter is a key time of year to deliver some important messages, especially after recently learning that the Royal College of Surgeons have indicated that tooth extractions for pre-school children have surged by 24% in just 10 years.
This astronomical number is not only unacceptable, but it’s also easily avoidable.
Here are my tips on how parents can help prevent this unnecessary yet growing trend. (This also applies to us adults who enjoy the odd chocolate egg or two).
1. The most important thing to remember is that it’s not the amount of sugar we eat that has the biggest effect on teeth, but the frequency that it’s eaten, This means that if you're going to monitor your intake of chocolate eggs, it's actually better to eat several eggs at one point in the day as opposed to eating jut one or two several times a day.
2. Brush twice a day, once in the morning and again at bedtime, and always supervise children, especially those under seven. Ensure children brush for two minutes each time to beat nasty plaque. Have an egg-timer to keep on track and challenge your little ones to run out the clock.
3. Toothpaste can be magical if you use the right kind. Children over seven should use toothpaste with 1350-1500ppm of fluoride whilst those under seven should stick to no more than 1000ppm of fluoride. Remember, young ones only need a small pea-sized amount of toothpaste. Encourage them to spit out excess toothpaste but not to rinse with lots of water because it will wash away the fluoride, making it less effective.
4. Visit the dentist or hygienist regularly, beginning when your child’s milk teeth appear. This will help children to become familiar and help prevent decay and identify any risks from an early age.