Easter means lots of things for lots of people, but for the average American child, it means he’ll consume 5.5 pounds of chocolate. Yes, five-and-a-half pounds. From where we, as your Loudoun County pediatric dentist, stand, that’s just way too much sugar for your child’s growing teeth — especially in such a short period of time — and places him at greater risk for tooth decay and cavities.
But what can you do? He’s come to expect loads of candy and chocolate in his Easter basket, and won’t be happy to wake up and find that the Easter Bunny brought him anything but… Unless you swap out the traditional treats with these tooth-healthy alternatives.
Go for a giant plush bunny instead of a giant chocolate bunny.
There’s no rule, written or otherwise, that says the centerpiece of your child’s Easter basket has to be a giant chocolate bunny. This year, replace it with a stuffed bunny or some other toy that he’s been asking for, or will get super excited about.
When you do buy candy, buy sugar-free candy.
Many of the biggest, most popular candy brands on the market today have started making sugar-free varieties. Opt for sugar free gummy bears, caramels, or licorice and we promise: They’ll never know the difference, and you’ll worry less about what all that sugar is doing to their teeth.
Add other presents to the Easter basket.
Of course, there will still be some candy, just not as much. Balance the Easter basket with toys and games you know they’ll love with a few of their favorite sweet treats, too.
Make candy an after-dinner treat.
Let them have candy, but don’t let them eat it all at once — not even the sugar-free kind. Set aside a few piece for them to enjoy Easter morning, and freeze the rest; you can even make a game out of it: “Let’s make Easter last longer!” Encourage your child to eat all of his dinner, with the promise of a piece or two of leftover candy.
Give out some homemade coupons.
This is especially great for older kids. Include homemade coupons in their Easter basket that they can later redeem for awards or certain privileges like not having to do this chore, or getting to choose what the family has for dinner, or a special outing with Dad. If there’s anything better than candy, it’s that!
Really, it’s quite easy to protect your child’s teeth, and still make the Easter holiday enjoyable for your child. Even better, these tips are a fun way to create new and exciting family traditions, don’t you think?