All The Easter Fun, No Sugar Added: A Lesson in Dentistry

Easter has developed from a strictly religious observance into a commercial holiday, much like Christmas. With Easter coming this weekend, families will be flocking to the stores loading their baskets and carts with all sorts of sugary Easter treats. Don’t get me wrong I love me some good chocolate (hands off my mini eggs!) but as a dental hygienist I feel the need to save as many teeth from the acid attacks that are about to explode world-wide.

Dental Facts

Every time you consume sugar, not just candy but sugar in any food, bread, juice, fruit; the bacteria that naturally occurs in your mouth breaks that sugar down. A byproduct of the bacteria eating sugar is acid. The acid is produced for approximately 20 minutes.

Sugar+Bacteria= 20 minute Acid Attack

During the acid attack, the enamel of your teeth (hard white covering) is compromised, or softened, for the entire 20 minute duration. This is the starting point for cavities. Over many ”acid attacks”, enamel will soften to a point that the bacteria ‘eat’ or burn a hole through the enamel, thus forming a cavity. Your enamel is softer immediately following eating, which is why it is recommended that you either brush your teeth before eating or wait at least 20 minutes after consuming food. If you can’t brush, doing something to neutralize the acid such as drinking water is a good alternative. The whole ”wine and cheese” concept makes sense. Wine= acidic, cheese= basic, acid+base=neutralizing effect.

Also for this reason, I’d rather you and your children sit down and eat every morsel of Easter candy in one sitting. I realize this isn’t possible given the amount of candy found in most baskets, but the point remains that it is always better to eat your candy/sugary drinks in one sitting rather than constantly picking all day.

No Sugar Added

While I’m not on a crusade to steal all the candy away from children, it would be nice to see Easter baskets a little less sugar laden. For some ‘no sugar added’ Easter fun, try filling your baskets with some of these ideas instead:

  • Plastic Eggs are cheap and fun. You can fill them with whatever you want! Try filling with money (Loonies for us Canadian, dolla bills for you US folk), healthy snacks such as Goldfish crackers are a better alternative, small toys or a special keepsake. Tailoring your egg-filling to appropriate ages.
  • Books. Start a tradition at a young age buying a special Easter book every year instead.
  • Spring Toys. Skip ropes, bubbles, chalk, lawn toys, balls, water guns.
  • Clothes
  • Ornaments for the Easter Tree
  • Stuffed Animals
  • Seeds. Encourage even young kids to start gardening, planting a few seeds and watch them grow together. Bonus if you plant something that can be eaten like peas or beans which are fun and easy to grow.
  • An e-book would be a fantastic gift and lucky for you I’m selling one!!! Shameless plug 😉

Consuming a little less sugar is good not just for your teeth but your overall health and wallet too. Less sugar=less potential for dental/health issue=less dental/medical appointments and better overall health! Winning.

I hope everyone has a fantastic long weekend no matter how you spend it. Enjoy friends, family and good food!

Happy Easter!

See what’s open on Easter this year.

Enjoy Plunged in Debt?


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  1. This is a great post! I think kids are exposed to entirely too much sugar in a day to day basis. I particularly like the seeds idea! I don’t really celebrate Easter so all of this stuff doesn’t really apply to me but it’s a great idea that you’re offering alternatives to the people who might consume more candy than is good for them on this holiday!

  2. I really like the idea of non-junk Easter treats. I will definitely keep these in mind when I have kids!

    Thanks 🙂

  3. Many will think this post is crazy. I think it’s marvy. The books are an especially good idea for young, developing brains. Our holidays are in need of serious reevaluation.

    • Catherine says:

      haha thanks 🙂 We’re pretty huge into books- reading/books are important. I totally agree about the holiday reevaluation, they’re all insane, over the top.

  4. Hmm I may have to think twice about buying myself some easter chocolate this weekend.

  5. My grandma used for fill my plastic eggs with quarters. Those were some of my favorite prizes.

  6. When I was younger, I really appreciated the non-candy gifts in my Easter basket. Books & magazines were my favorite. Candy is always good, but as you pointed out, there is the whole teeth-rotting issue. Now if only I could give up sipping coffee all morning….

  7. Great points, and alternatives! The CDC’s website also has great statistics on this subject.

  8. Happy Easter! We are not planning on any Easter candy. Halloween is the only holiday where we have some candy. Less sugar is definitely a good idea.

  9. sooo… I`ve already eaten a lot of candy, and I`ll probably eat some more tomorrow, but on Monday I`ve decided to make a fresh start with no sweets and exercise everyday, so I`ll hope it won`t hurt my teeth too much..

  10. I haven’t eaten a lot of candy lately. I’ve been getting my sugar fill from granola bars and cookies. I have such a sweet tooth. It’s so hard to avoid candy when so many holidays involve candy! (Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter, Hallowe’en, okay that’s only four but still…)

  11. I love this info! We as a whole consume WAY too much sugar. Why do we need so much candy and chocolate and crap for these holidays? I just don’t understand really. But listen I’m not Ms. Innocent myself, so I’ve been cutting WAY back on like you said, ANYTHING that has extra sugar, mainly for my waistline and internal inflammation, which is also a huge problem right now.

  12. Happy Easter! Thanks for the tips about sugar. I am on a sugar detox now after yesterday =/

  13. I am starting to regret eating that last Easter egg now…

  14. We always got books at Easter! Usually a new shirt, too.
    Now you’re making me feel bad about the rolo egg thing I just had at work!

  15. My father was an oral surgeon so good oral hygiene was drilled into me as a child. Back then, candy and soda were special treats and not every day food items. I try to get our sugar consumption under control, but it tough during the holidays when there are so many tempting treats available. We do give the girls plastic eggs with coins in them already, which they always find fun. I’ll have to add a couple of your ideas to next year’s basket.

    • Catherine says:

      Good to hear Shannon. The holidays are out of control in terms of sugary treats though I guess it’s us as consumers who allow it to happen!

  16. Umm…pretty sure my teeth are constantly under a sugar-induced acid attack…Easter or not. Damn sweet tooth! 🙂

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