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17 million reasons to be careful this Easter.

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Home  /  Implants - Dental News  /  17 million reasons to be careful this Easter.

With the Easter choc-fest almost upon us, it’s sobering to consider how much chocolate we’ll consume over just a few days.

The Irish have traditionally been thought to have something of a sweet tooth, with this notion supported by consumption of our levels of confectionery and other-sugar-related products.

But if you want to take just a single statistic to prove how much of a sugar lust we actually have, you could do worse than look at the estimated figures for Easter egg consumption this year.

Almost unbelievably, Repak have estimated that we’ll consumer a staggering 17 million eggs over our annual Easter binge. Repak is an industry-funded organisation whose aim it is to facilitate and grow packaging recycling. Their estimate is welcome, in one sense, as it’s difficult to get any other figures on chocolate consumption, so knowing the extent of the challenge is to be welcomed.

Our hunger for chocolate is growing at a frightening rate

It’s also sobering to note that our appetite for chocolate seems to be growing at a frightening rate. In 2013, the Repak estimate was for just 12 million eggs to be consumed, so we’ve jumped by over 40% over just two years.

Bear in mind, also, that it’s not just the actual eggs themselves that will be consumed. The vast majority have a confectionery bar or some other sweet substance inside them, so the total amount of sugar is even higher than we might first suspect.

You might be tempted to think of us as curmudgeons for tut-tutting this level of sugar consumption, but the sad fact is that it’s indicative of our general taste for sugar.

The implications for dental health

Despite the fact that we’re seriously anti-sugar, we should explain that sugar of itself is not the biggest danger to your teeth. That ‘honour’ belongs to acid. Sugar and acid are inextricably linked, however, so extra sugar will inevitably lead to more acid – and more potential damage to your teeth.

Here’s how it works. The sugar that you consume – in whatever guise – causes the bacteria in your mouth to produce the acid that can potentially run riot in your mouth.

This process is made even worse by the presence of plaque, which is a sticky film of bacteria that likes to cling to your teeth and gums.

Every single time that plaque and sugar combine, harmful acid is produced which is capable of attacking your teeth for around twenty minutes. And the more often this process occurs, the more damage can be caused to your teeth. A small hole will eventually become bigger, eventually leading to the need for fillings.

But is it all okay if I’m brushing regularly?

Brushing is really important in fighting tooth decay, but when a small hole forms in your tooth as a result of consuming too much chocolate on a regular basis, your toothbrush may have difficulty getting into the tiny space, which allows even more bacteria to hide out there, waiting for more sugar. And in this manner, a vicious circle is born.

We’re not so simplistic in our views that we believe people will cut out sugar from their diets completely, so here are some handy coping tips to make sure that your teeth don’t have to pay the cost for your chocolate cravings:

  • You’re much better having sugar work on your teeth for a short period. So eat your chocolate bar and brush your teeth afterwards, as opposed to sipping in a sugar-laden beverage for maybe an hour or more.
  • Always read the label on any food you’re consuming and keep a wary eye out for hidden sugars. And be particularly careful in buying sports drinks that claim a number of performance benefits, but may be riddled with sugar.
  • Lots of us like to snack during the day, and if that’s the case, make sure to go for healthier choices such as crunch veg or fruit. Nuts are also a good alternative to sugary smacks.
  • Make a deal with yourself that biscuits, cakes and sweets will be only consumed as an occasional special treat – not as an everyday part of you diet.

On top of these simple measures, the other big thing you can do to stack the odds in your favour is to make sure you don’t neglect your regular dental check-up. Your dentist can spot a problem at an early stage, heading off bigger trouble before it has a chance to escalate.

This regime takes a bit of planning, but surely that’s more acceptable than shelling out for dental treatments like teeth implants, crowns, root canals, veneers etc.

And by way of a reward for your diligence, why not put that notional tooth implant cost towards a treat that you really want – maybe that new phone or tablet that you’ve been longing for?

If you have young children and would like to explain the harmful nature of sugar, here’s a helpful resource to get you started: http://healthyteeth.org/what-about-sugar/