Dr Keith Hollihan at work
Easter time is upon us. Along with spending time with friends and family over the Easter break comes the temptation to over-indulge in chocolate. Dr Keith Hoolihan from one of our Bupa owned dental clinics, Mt Eden Dental Surgery, sheds some light on whether or not our teeth are safe this Easter.
Are certain types of chocolate worse?
According to Dr Hoolihan, some varieties of chocolate are better than others. Chocolate that is high in sugar is not good for our teeth. This is bad news for milk chocolate lovers. To give you an idea, a 44g bar of milk chocolate has 5.75 teaspoons of sugar, a 47.9g pack of M&M’s has 7.5 teaspoons of sugar and a 52.7g Snickers bar has 6.75 teaspoons of sugar . If we compare this to dark chocolate such as Lindt Excellence 85% Cocoa, a large 100g block of chocolate only has around 3 teaspoons of sugar. Why not try out some dark chocolate treats this Easter?
How does sugar contribute to tooth decay?
“When you eat sugary foods or consume sugary drinks, the sugar interacts with the bacterial plaque in our mouths. The plaque metabolises the sugar producing an acid, which breaks down tooth enamel. The good news for chocolate is that it dissolves a lot faster than other treats like boiled candy, which expose your teeth to sugar for longer periods of time,” says Dr Hoolihan
What should we do if we experience pain?
According to Dr Hoolihan, you may have sensitive teeth if you experience a short duration of pain while eating sugary foods. He recommends trying a desensitizing toothpaste to alleviate discomfort. “If the pain lasts for more than a minute, you should visit your dentist as you may have a cavity or a cracked tooth,” says Dr Hoolihan.
How can we protect our teeth this Easter?
Dr Hoolihan recommends enjoying as much chocolate as you like this Easter but don’t carry this on for the rest of the year. He recommends having a glass of water or milk after your chocolate binge to help counteract the acid from attacking your teeth.