By Dr. Stephanie McGann, DMD FAGD, Columnist, The Times
As many of the folks who read my column know, I am not in favor of denying our children the occasional sweet treat. Holidays are special and to steal a chocolate bunny out of the hands of child is just no fun.
However, in light of the supersized world we live in and the prevalence of 4 and 5 pound packages of jelly beans, I felt obligated to say a few words. The basics are that too much sugar over a long period of time causes tooth decay. Sour candies cause decay more rapidly. Sour sticky or chewy candies are the worst. So here’s my plan for a happy Easter celebration.
10 Tips for a happy and healthy Easter basket
- Choose quality over quantity. Cheap chocolate bunnies are mostly wax, (I tried to melt one once) Look for real chocolate.
- Sour is not sweet. Sour candy is the most harmful to the teeth, so that giant bag of sour jelly beans should be left at the store. Choose a small package that is not “sour.”
- Non-food fun. Nothing is more fun to a child than a wind-up chick clattering across the floor. It doesn’t take candy to make a child smile.
- Include something to go outside and play with. Easter is the start of the great outside weather so think about jump ropes, bouncy balls, frisbees or gliders.
- Older kids are saavy – a plastic egg with money or gift card works as well as giant basket of candy.
- Encourage everyone to have some water after eating candy – it lessens the damage.
- Grazing is dangerous, if you leave that bowl of jelly beans out on Easter – be sure to brush well that night and don’t keep it out all week. (That goes for the adults who place the jar on their desk too!)
- Peeps – what would the world be without them? They have taken on a life of their own. If your basket is not complete without them just limit them to one package. (I know they are often sold in 3 packs – but single packs are available). Peep items are also now non-foods such Peep lip balm and stuffed animals. Don’t forget Peep Oreos or the Peep flavored Rita’s Water Ice. Peeps are cute, but it’s easy to have too much of a good thing.
- Leftovers are not a great deal. We all have the urge to purchase the left over candy the week after a holiday when it is just too cheap to pass up. Just say no. Keep the holiday candy limited to the day of the holiday and most people will not have a huge problem. It’s when we keep the ongoing supply that we have overdone it.
- Enjoy the holiday with friends and family – stay safe and healthy.
Dr. Stephanie McGann, who has more than two decades of dental practice experience, is a resident of the Unionville area and along with her partner, Dr. Marie Scott, operates The Brandywine Smile Center, a family-friendly dental practice in Concordville. Dr. McGann has opened a new practice in Valley Township, Rainbow Valley Dental. She is a Fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry.