Kids are very picky eaters. Even worse, they have the tendency to gravitate towards sweet food items rather than going for healthier options. This is an issue because sugar is the major content of the most common snacks like cookies, cakes, and ice-creams. Sugar is even hidden in items such as ketchup, granola bars, juices, soup, canned sauce, and a lot of other foods. When kids increase the daily intake of sugary foods, it can negatively impact their oral health particularly and physical fitness as well.
How does sugar impact dental health?
We are all aware of the fact that having too much sugar can result in tooth decay, but do you know what actually happens? Well, it’s not the sugar that causes cavities, but the processes that occur after you eat or drink. Mouths are loaded with bacteria. Some are good, which helps in digestion, while others can do real harm to teeth. These bacteria actually feed on sugar and release acid that damage the teeth. Foods that are rich in carbohydrates are a problem as well because as they digest, even the carbs convert into sugar!
What Causes Cavities?
A cavity requires only three things to develop – the teeth, bacteria, and sugar. Once your child eats sugar-rich foods, it just takes 20 seconds for the plaque bacteria to come in contact with the sugar and generate acid. This acid then harms the enamel of the tooth, wearing it down. This reaction of bacteria and sugar results in tooth decay gradually and further leads to the formation of cavities.
The other reason behind the development of cavities is the changes in the pH levels of the mouth. Kids love to enjoy foods and drinks like cakes, cookies, junk food, lemonade, soda, and many more which are highly acidic in nature. The bacteria inside the mouth start converting the sugar into acid, which in turn drops the pH level and forms cavities.
Food items that contain hidden sugar
- Breakfast Cereals (flavored oats, granola, muesli, breakfast flakes)
- Flavored Yogurt
How to protect your child’s teeth?
Maintaining proper oral hygiene is vital for everybody, but it is even more essential for kids who have the tendency to have excessive sugar in their daily food habits. Here are a few tips to protect their teeth from the bad impact of sugar.
As per the American Dental Association, fluoride is a natural mineral and can prevent tooth decay. Make sure your kid is using fluoride-containing toothpaste and drinking plenty of fluoride-rich water.
Brushing daily is probably the most effective way to remove plaque and bad bacteria from the teeth and mouth. Give your kid the right fluoride-based toothpaste according to his/her age. Make sure that your kid brushes at least twice every day, in the morning and before bedtime. Make your child clean their tongue. Also, teach them the proper way of brushing teeth.
Encourage your kid to floss daily. You can also buy special flossing handles that will help those little hands do an even better job.
Drink Lots Of Water
Tap water usually contains added fluoride, therefore, encourage your kid to drink enough water after eating rather than drinking sugary beverages.
Eat healthily & reduce sugar-rich foods/drinks
Reduce your kid’s sugar intake and encourage eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Teach your toddler the significance of a healthy diet.
Regular Dental Checkups
The most crucial thing to your kid’s oral health is scheduling regular dentist visits. The pediatric dentist can detect trouble areas through x-rays and direct exams before any problem springs up.
Your kids deserve the best that dentistry has to provide. You can get in touch with Jupiter Kids Dentistry & Orthodontics to get the best home care tips for your kid. Our pediatric dentist in Allen, TX is staffed with an experienced team ready to help you make the best decisions about your kid’s dental health. We’re just a call away.