Kids are generally very picky eaters. Even worse, they have the habit to gravitate towards sweet food items rather than going for healthier foods. This is a big problem because sugar is the major content of the most common snacks such as cookies, cakes, and ice-creams. Sugar is also hidden in items such as ketchup, juices, soup, granola bars, and a lot of other items. When kids increase the daily consumption of sugary foods, it can negatively affect their oral health particularly and physically as well.
How does sugar impact dental health?
We are well aware of the fact that consuming too much sugar can result in tooth decay. But do you know what really happens? Well, it’s not the sugar that causes cavities, but the action that takes place after you eat or drink. Your mouths are loaded with bacteria. Some are good that help in your digestion while others can do real damage to teeth. These bacteria actually feed on sugar and release an acid that harms your teeth. Foods that are rich in carbohydrates are a problem as they digest, even the carbs turn into sugar!
What Causes Cavities?
A cavity requires just three things to form – the teeth, bacteria, and sugar. Once your child eats sugar-rich food items, it takes only 20 seconds for the plaque bacteria to form. It comes in contact with the sugar and generates acid. This acid then damages the enamel of the tooth, wearing it down. This reaction of bacteria and sugar leads to tooth decay gradually and it further leads to the formation of cavities.
The other reason behind the formation of cavities is the changes in pH levels in your mouth. Kids love to enjoy foods and drinks such as cakes, junk food, cookies, soda, and many more which are acidic in nature. The bacteria inside the mouth start converting the sugar into acid. This, in turn, drops the pH level and develops cavities.
Food items that contain hidden sugar
- Breakfast cereals such as flavored oats, muesli, granola, breakfast flakes
- Flavored Yogurt
How to protect your child’s teeth?
Maintaining the right oral hygiene is vital for everybody. But it is even more essential for kids who have the tendency to have too much sugar in their daily diet. Here are just a few tips to protect their teeth from the bad effects of sugar.
As per the American Dental Association, fluoride is a natural mineral. This can prevent tooth decay. Make sure that your kid is using fluoride-containing toothpaste and drinking plenty of fluoridated water.
Brushing daily is possibly the most effective way to eliminate plaque and bad bacteria from the teeth. Give your kid the correct fluoride-based toothpaste according to his/her age. Make sure that your kid brushes at least twice a day, in the morning and before bedtime. Ensure that your child cleans their tongue. Also, teach them the correct way of brushing teeth.
Try to motivate your kid to floss daily. You can also buy special flossing handles. It will help those little hands do an even better job.
Drink lots of water
Tap water naturally contains added fluoride. Therefore, encourage your kid to drink plenty of water. And also make sure they drink water after having meals rather than drinking sugary beverages.
Eat healthy & reduce sugar-rich foods/drinks
Reduce your kid’s sugary intake and let them eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Teach your toddler the importance of a healthy diet.
Regular Dental Checkups
The most essential thing to your kid’s oral health is arranging regular dentist visits. The pediatric dentist can examine trouble areas through x-rays or direct exams before any trouble springs up.
Your kids deserve the best that the dental office has to provide. You can get in touch with Gentle Touch Dentistry to get the best home care tips for your kid. Our pediatric dentist in Richardson, TX, is staffed with an experienced team ready to help you make the best choice about your kid’s dental health. We are just a call away.