Watching my grandchildren hunt for candy-filled Easter eggs is fun and exciting, but it always makes me stop and ponder just how much junk candy is out there. Marketing Easter candy is big business, and it’s really children who lose.
It’s easy to think, “Oh, one piece of candy won’t kill me.” But that mentality has a lasting impact…. because even just one candy can alter taste buds, and make us want to eat more sweets in the following weeks and months. Fortunately, we can turn these candy-filled holidays into learning opportunities, where kids learn to develop habits they keep for the rest of their lives.
Here’s is a guide for Easter candy – the good and the bad.
How to Prevent Cavities After Eating Candy
Eating candy often prompts an acid attack by bacteria. You can prevent these attack by doing the following:
- Eat candy with plenty of water. Water helps neutralize the acids produced by the bacteria.
- Swish vigorously with water afterward. This can help shake loose bits of sticky candy that get stuck in between teeth. When candy gets stuck in your teeth, those bacteria can have a heyday of a feast and continue excreting acid all day long until you get home to floss and brush that chunk out.
- Don’t snack all day. Eating a lot of candy all at once is better than spreading it out over days or weeks. If you’re going to expose your teeth to acid, do it for as little time as possible.
- Wait to brush. With all that acid in your mouth, you’ll want to wait to brush and floss for at least 30 minutes to one hour, depending on how much water you’ve had to neutralize the acid. Enamel is strong, but it wears away with acid, and brushing with all that acid in your mouth could easily wear away more enamel.
The Official List of Best and Worst Easter Candy
Not all indulgences all created equally. Here’s how Easter candy stacks up, from the best to the worst choices.
The Worst Offenders
Sticky candy: The stickier candies do more damage to teeth because they get stuck in the teeth — allowing the bacteria to feast and excrete acid all day long until you get home to brush or floss the gunk out of there. This includes dried fruit!
Any candy that takes a long time to eat: The more you expose your teeth to sugars and acids, the more time the bacteria get to feast and excrete acids. Sucking on lollipops or a chocolate bunny all day does far more harm than eating the same amount of candy all in one quick sitting.
Anything gummy: Gummy candies can be the most acidic, and acid is what damages the teeth.
The Best Sweets
Dark chocolate: Chocolate is good for your teeth! Properties in chocolate have been proven to be better than fluoride at strengthening enamel. Just keep it to 75% and above. Raise your kids on this “bitter” chocolate so their tastebuds learn the difference and can appreciate this high-quality chocolate.
Candy bars with nuts: Nuts can break up the stickiness of a candy bar as well as break up some of the biofilm of the teeth.
Homemade baked goods with monk fruit sweetener or coconut sugar: Both of these sugar alternatives have a low glycemic index and are less damaging to the teeth and body than sugar.
This all might sound very serious, but I promise this doesn’t have to put a damper on the Easter holiday. Don’t think you have to sacrifice any of the fun just because you want to model moderation and healthy habits during the holidays.