Enjoy Chocolate and Avoid Tooth Decay at Easter

Easter…for many of us, it’s an excuse to enjoy chocolate in some of its various pleasurable forms.

My taste buds are particularly stimulated by dark chocolate with chilli or salt. A dentist enjoying chocolate I hear you say? What about the sugar? Won’t that harm your teeth?

On its own, sugar does not damage teeth

Tooth decay happens when sugars in your mouth are converted into acid by the bacteria that grow on your teeth (bacteria form a soft, sticky layer on the tooth, called plaque). Acids damage teeth by dissolving the hard tooth structure. Without bacteria, sugars are harmless for teeth.

Unfortunately, plaque forms continuously. The best time to remove plaque bacteria is before enjoying your chocolate. No bacteria, then no acid conversion from sugar.

• Plaque can be hard to see, so use disclosing tablets to visualise plaque before brushing with fluoride toothpaste.
• Rotating or oscillating-head electric toothbrushes are very efficient at plaque removal. Use dental floss or interdental brushes to    remove more inaccessible plaque between your teeth and gums to minimise acid production and dental damage when the sugar arrives.
• Wait a few minutes before enjoying chocolate – it doesn’t taste great mixed with the aftertaste of toothpaste.

Have a good Easter; enjoy your chocolate – responsibly. Any surplus chocolate can be brought to the practice where my team and I will dispose of it – responsibly.

Chris Edmonds BDS