Let’s face it- when you look into the eyes of your child’s adorable face, your iron resolve of not giving them any more chocolate melts into a puddle.
We don’t mean to sound so sinister, but it’s true. Parents often don’t seem to realize the full effect of giving too much sugar to children, and in the hopes of avoiding tantrums end up paying for their 5-year old’s tooth fillings.
What makes sweet treats such devils you ask? Well, the problem is not the sugar itself, but the acid that is formed when the bacteria in our mouth breaks it down.
- This acid then works to erode the protective layer of the enamel on our teeth, making them porous.
- Cavities are the result of bacterial infections in these holes.
- Acid also removes important minerals from our teeth, leading to tooth decay, rot, and tooth sensitivity, by eating into our teeth and exposing our nerve endings.
This has become a major problem today since almost 75 percent of our teens today have cavities.
Given that 16 percent of our children’s food intake is added sugars, the damage goes well beyond teeth. Since over 90 percent of parents tend to underestimate the amount of sugar even in everyday meal items like yogurt and juice (which is over 60 percent, by the way!), more and more kids are becoming overweight. Excess consumption of sugars leads to not only serious diseases like diabetes in children, but also causes cough, cold, and weakens the immunity system.
However, sugar is an important part of our balanced diet, and should not be done away with entirely. Instead, a few simple prevention suffice.
- Brush and floss regularly. We know how many times you’ve heard this. The simplest trick in the box is often the best one. Brushing helps wash away the acid deposited on our teeth, while floss removes the plaque nested in between. A word of caution-wait for at least 45 minutes after eating something to brush. This is because the acid works to wear off the enamel in this time, and brushing while it is working will lead to even greater enamel loss.
- Replace juice with water. Water ensures that there’s always ample saliva in our mouth. This is necessary as saliva is a natural defense against plaque acids, and has important minerals that help repair damaged teeth. Drinking water also helps dilute the number of bacteria present in our mouth after eating. So give your child milk or water with breakfast instead of juice, which, by the way, has added sugars.
- Consume sweets in a short period of time. Since acid attacks over a short period of twenty minutes, it is advised to consume sugary foods in a short period of time. We don’t mean to turn this into an ‘All-you-can-eat’ 20 minutes candy binge, folks. This is a word of advice to parents who tend to leave their toddlers with sippy bottles of juice all day- it just increases the amount of contact time between the acid and your child’s pearly whites.
- Say cheese! What is the sweetest thing about limiting your sugar? You get to eat cheese guilt-free. According to the University of Rochester, eating yogurt, cheese, fruits, and vegetables replenishes minerals like calcium and phosphate, which strengthen our teeth.
- Know how much is too much. Even if parents know how much sugar there is in a product, they still don’t know how much their child should consume in a day. According to the BBC here are the recommended levels of daily sugar intake:
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6. Consult Professionals. Make regular appointments with your dentist every 3-6 months, for a check-up and routine oral cleansing. This allows for any tooth decay to be caught early, saving your toddler pain and your wallet money. You can also get information and tips on how to ensure your oral health, and keep that smile sparkling for a long time.
Since it is back to school season, we have created a package that will ensure that your children will start the new year with a healthy smile. The Package includes:
- Dental Exam