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How to enjoy Easter and other sugary treats while avoiding tooth decay

14 Apr 2022

Easter is nearly here, which means lots of chocolate and sweet treats are on offer. Children celebrating Passover (from April 15th) and Eid (expected to be in early May) will also enjoy sugary treats. The Faculty of Dental Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons of England has pulled together some helpful tips so children can enjoy the fun while protecting their teeth from dental decay.

Professor Helen Rodd, a paediatric dentist and Board Member of the Faculty of Dental Surgery (FDS) at the Royal College of Surgeons of England, said:

“There are simple ways in which you can enjoy chocolate and other sweet treats, while still protecting your teeth from decay. Our message, not just for Easter time but for all year round, is that tooth decay is 90% preventable. This is through reducing sugar consumption, twice daily brushing with a fluoride toothpaste and routine visits to a dentist. We want to help people to look after their teeth so they can enjoy an occasional sweet treat without toothache.”

Tooth decay remains the main cause for hospital admissions for children aged 5-9 years old in England. 1

Professor Rodd added: Unfortunately, nearly a quarter of 5-year-olds experience dental decay and around 38,000 children and young people have teeth removed in hospital every year. So it’s really important that we continue to raise awareness of what people can do to improve their oral health.2

The Faculty of Dental Surgery has these tops tips to avoid dental decay:

  • Excess sugar between meals is one of the biggest causes of dental decay, so only having chocolate and sweet treats after a meal reduces the impact on your teeth.
  • All children should use a fluoride toothpaste to brush their teeth at least twice a day. Brushing your teeth straight after eating chocolate or sweets would also be a really good idea.
  • We would also encourage children to drink water or milk, instead of juice, fizzy drinks and squash, to reduce both the amount and frequency of their sugar consumption.
  • Regular visits to the dentist will ensure that children with a high decay risk receive fluoride varnish and fissure sealants (plastic coatings that are painted onto the grooves of the back teeth) to protect their teeth even more.  NHS dental care is free for children and young people aged under 18.


Notes to editors

1. Statistics on children being admitted to hospital for the year ended March 31st 2021, are available here: Hospital Admitted Patient Care Activity 2020-21 - NHS Digital

2.The Water fluoridation: health monitoring report for England 2022 report is available on

3. The Government’s toolkit about preventative dental measures can be found here:

4. The Faculty of Dental Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons of England is an independent professional body committed to helping the entire dental team achieve and maintain excellence in practice and patient care. It provides world-class courses and its qualifications are internationally recognised, including its new Membership of The Faculty of Dental Surgery (MFDS) examination.

The Royal College of Surgeons of England is a professional membership organisation and registered charity, which exists to advance surgical standards and improve patient care.

For more information, please contact the Press Office:

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