Do you eat all your Easter chocolate in the space of one weekend? Or do you pick at them for months?
While gorging on endless eggs over the space of a day or two might not leave you feeling brilliant, a dentist has revealed why it might actually be better for your teeth than making them last.
Baresh Eyrumlu, of Banning Dental Group, has said that it’s better for the overall health of your teeth to eat your favourite Easter egg or chocolate bar in one go, rather than spreading it out throughout the day.
Baresh said this is because the sugar in chocolate is turned into acid by the plaque in your mouth every time you nibble on your egg. This acid can damage the surface of the tooth and even lead to tooth decay in the long run.
He says: ‘Tooth decay is not caused by the amount of sugar that you have, it’s actually caused by the frequency.
‘So if you have a chocolate bar and you split it to have it at five points throughout the day, that is far worse than if you had it in one go at breakfast, lunch or dinner.
‘While we certainly don’t advise bingeing on lots of chocolate in one sitting, if you are going to enjoy the occasional treat then it’s better to have it at once rather than grazing on it throughout the day.’
He adds that it’s important to visit the dentist every six months and watch for signs of tooth decay, such as bad breath, sensitivity or toothache. And always brush your teeth twice a day.
‘The fluoride in toothpaste helps to strengthen the enamel on your teeth and can protect them against the acids from plaque,’ he adds. ‘The main purpose of the enamel is to strengthen the enamel minerals and create a strong barrier.’
Does the type of Easter egg you choose have an impact on your tooth health too?
Dr Khaled Kasem, chief orthodontist at invisible orthodontics chain Impress, shares which Easter eggs are better for you and which you might want to avoid.
The best of the best
‘Dark chocolate is known to have many benefits, and preventing tooth decay is one of them,’ he says.
‘A firm favourite for snacking, dark chocolate actually helps to fight tooth decay because its grain contains strong antibacterial agents. Dark chocolate can also help to fight bacteria and prevent bad breath – all while tasting delicious too.’
‘In contrast, milk and white chocolate are not so great for your teeth, they contain more sugar and unpressed chocolate than dark chocolate, which can lead to tooth decay, so dark chocolate is most definitely favoured,’ he explains.
In fact, white chocolate is the least nutritious chocolate of them all. Dr Kasem adds: ‘It is very high in calcium and sugar causing the most tooth decay overall.
‘You can still enjoy all kinds of chocolate over Easter, just in smaller quantities rather than over indulging.’
‘Mint flavoured chocolate, like an Aero Mint Easter Egg, is better for your health because it’s full of nutrients and is considered one of the best antioxidants, full of vitamin A and C.
‘Vitamin C in particular has great benefits by building healthy teeth and gums. It’s not only tasty, but it also has a pleasant aroma so you’re less likely to have bad breath.
‘Add some dark chocolate and this is the best type of chocolate for your teeth, After Eights are on to a winner.’
‘Eggs with nuts are also a great choice,’ says Dr Kasem, explaining that they help keep teeth healthy by balancing out acid erosion in saliva and reducing tooth decay risk.
‘However, do be careful with caramel infused Easter eggs as anything sticky can be particularly difficult to remove from your teeth and keep them clean,’ he adds. ‘So Mars, for example, is a bad choice.’
‘Fruit and nut Easter eggs are far from healthy,’ he says.
‘Surprisingly, chocolate alone is actually better for your teeth than fruit and nut Easter eggs. The sugar content is very high and the raisins themselves get stuck in between teeth, leading to a brushing disaster.
‘Whatever your Easter egg choice is it’s fine to indulge every once in a while. But remember which types of chocolate may leave you in a bit of a sore spot.’
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