By Denise Jenkin Of The Oakland Press
Bingham Farms dentist Timothy Kosinski is urging the Easter Bunny to lay off the candy in the Easter baskets this year.
More teeth are destroyed Easter morning than at any other holiday of the year, except Halloween, Kosinski said. To address the problem, he recommends tooth-friendly baskets this year.
Americans spent $1.67 billion on Easter candy last year, second only to the $1.77 billion spent on Halloween, according to the National Confectioners Association. In 1997, Americans ate the equivalent of 25 pounds of candy per person, plus an additional 2 pounds of gum each.
“Given the love we all have for candy, I certainly wouldn’t recommend that we not give our children candy for Easter, Halloween, Christmas or Valentine’s Day,” Kosinski said. “But I plan on making this Easter more fun and healthy by giving my children a tooth-friendly Easter basket, which I strongly suspect many other parents also would like to do.”
Kosinski suggests parents substitute candy with stickers, pocket-sized games, coloring books, crayons, stuffed animals, books, magazines and comic books and videos. Sugar-free versions of lollipops, gum and gummy bears also are fun and safe, he said.
In sample baskets on display at his office, Kosinski also includes children’s toothpaste, toothbrushes, dental floss and even a tooth fairy pillow for lost teeth. In addition, he suggests key chains, baseball cards, flavored lip balm, colorful bandages, flower or vegetable seed packets, sidewalk chalk, sunglasses and colored shoelaces or building blocks. Grapes and carrots might also be a good addition to the Sunday-morning tradition, he said.
“Brushing after eating candy or any food is still the best way to avoid cavities,” he said. “Parents can help by reducing or completely eliminating hard candy that children suck on or let melt in their mouths.”
Kosinski said if you must indulge – and he admits his family will, too – brush immediately afterward.
“I am not a scrooge,” he said. “Eating candy is fine, and I know you can’t take that away. But I would rather they eat that whole bunny at one sitting, get it over with and brush the teeth, and then it is done.
“It is the constant snacking all day long – nibbling on an ear now and a foot later – that’s when we start to see the sticking to the teeth.”