Easter, that time of year where sensible eating goes out the window and it is socially acceptable to give your children Easter eggs for breakfast, followed by an endless sugar feast.
This weekend, children are estimated to consume up to a whopping 250 teaspoons of sugar. If this sounds like an obscene amount, that’s because it is.
It has also been reported that the average child will each receive at least five Easter eggs, with over a third receiving as many as 15.
According the the World Health Organisation,one medium Easter egg product contains on average 23 teaspoons of sugar, with three times the daily maximum recommended amount for a six year old.
There has been much talk in the media, about the hidden sugars and sugar content in what we eat and drink. It is very important for our general health not to exceed the daily recommended allowance.
From our teeth’s point of view, it’s the frequency of sugary snacks that’s important, not just the amount.
Our mouths are home to lots of bacteria, most of which live on the surface of our teeth, in what’s called the BIOFILM. These bacteria love sugar and feed, producing acid as a result.
So, when you eat something sugary, it’s the acid that harms the teeth and causes the cavities.
It takes the salvia in your mouth about 90 minutes to clean away this acid. Once the mouth is clean and acid free, it’s important that it stays that way for a while. That’s why your dentist tries to discourage frequent sugary snacks such as Easter eggs.
Take an Easter egg as an example…….
- Begin eating the egg – have a few mouthfuls and leave most of it for later
- Bacteria in the mouth starts turning the sugar into acid
- Mouth won’t be clean again until 10:30am
- Have a glass of cola
- Mouth has to start the cleaning process again – won’t be clean until 11:30am
- Have another bit of Easter egg
- Mouth has to start the cleaning process again – won’t be clean until midday
- Have some more Easter egg
- Mouth has to start the cleaning process again – won’t be clean until 1:15pm
You can see how the pattern continues. The mouth doesn’t spend any time being fully clean. The Easter egg might not even be finished, but the mouth has been under attack for over four hours.
The worst thing you can do for your teeth is to snack consistently on sugary things throughout the day.
The same advice applies to sugary drinks. If you’re going to drink one, drink the entire thing in one sitting and then give your teeth time to recover. Again, the worst thing you can do is take a few sips every hour and make the drink last all day.
This is a simple look into how sugar harms the teeth and causes cavities. Don’t just be mindful about how many Easter eggs they eat, take note of when they eating them too.
For more information, please contact your dentist. They will be happy to answer any questions for you.