If there's any holiday that comes with a greater potential for tooth damage than Halloween, it's Easter. Chocolate bunnies, marshmallow chicks, jelly beans, and hard candy are all focal points of most Easter baskets. As a parent, you will definitely want your child to have a fun, enjoyable Easter celebration, but you also want to make sure that Easter is not a day for developing new cavities. How can you ensure a tooth-healthy Easter celebration this year? Here are a few tips that can help you protect your child's teeth while still providing them with a fun Easter celebration.
Use Real Eggs for Egg Hunts
Skip the hollow plastic eggs that usually end up full of jelly beans or chocolates, and hard boil real eggs for your egg hunts instead. It's a little extra work, but it comes with a big benefit – hard boiled eggs are actually good for your child's teeth.
That's because hard boiled eggs contain Vitamin D. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium, which is necessary for strong bones and strong teeth. One hardboiled egg is worth about 45 international units of Vitamin D. Eggs are also a good source of phosphorus, which is a mineral that also aids in calcium absorption. By choosing to go with hard boiled eggs instead of plastic ones this Easter, you'll ensure that your child has at least one snack around that's good for their teeth. Colorfully dyed and decorated eggs can hold their own against brightly wrapped candy as an attractive option for hungry children.
Substitute a Toy For the Big Bunny
A big chocolate bunny is traditionally the centerpiece of an Easter basket, but there's no rule that you have to continue that tradition. If you're building your own Easter basket, you can always choose to make something else the focal point of the basket. Would your child enjoy a stuffed bunny? How about a doll or an action figure? If you're feeling generous, include the video game your child has been asking for.
Not only will a toy or game be better for your child's teeth, it will last a lot longer than a chocolate bunny. Why not give them something that they can enjoy for more than just a day?
Give the Sweets Without the Sugar
Sugarless Easter candy is as easy to come by at this time of year as the sugar-laden kind of candy. Chances are that your kids won't know the difference. If you absolutely can't create an Easter basket without candy, substituting a sugarless variety will at least reduce the potential for damage. If you can find gummy bears sweetened with xylitol, you may even be doing your child's mouth a favor – xylitol reduces plaque and prevents tooth decay. Older children might enjoy sugarless gum sweetened with xylitol as well.
Also, consider adding apples, bananas, oranges, and other fruits to the Easter basket. These fruits can be considered sweet treats, but they aren't as likely to damage the teeth as candies are. You can still add candy, but with a few pieces of fruit taking up space in the basket, you won't need to add as much.
When in Doubt, Choose Chocolate
Chances are that you're not going to have a completely sugar-free Easter. That's OK, as long as you follow up the festivities with careful tooth brushing and flossing. However, you should still choose the sweets that will do the least harm whenever possible. Chocolate isn't good for your teeth by any stretch of the imagination, but in many cases, it's a better choice than hard candies, chewy jelly beans, or sticky marshmallows.
The longer particles of candy sit on your child's teeth, the more likely they are to cause decay. Chocolate melts in your mouth and can be consumed fairly quickly. While that doesn't make it great for your teeth, it does make chocolate a better choice than chewy or sticky treats that tend to linger on the surfaces of your child's teeth.
There's also no reason why the Easter bunny can't include a shiny new toothbrush from your pediatric dentist among the other goodies in the Easter basket. This year, give your kids a fun Easter celebration that's also good for their mouths. You and your child will be glad you made the effort when the next dental check-up comes around.