5th August 2016

How to Prevent Tooth Decay in Children

Tooth decay in children can happen at an early age if proper dental hygiene and nutritional practices are not implemented. Besides regular brushing and flossing, what your child eats and drinks can severely affect the strength of their teeth. Knowing what food and beverages to avoid to protect your little one’s teeth can set them up for a lifetime of proper dental health. Read on for a list of foods that you may want to reduce in your child’s diet and some healthy alternatives that will have them smiling bright.

1.Reduce sugary drinks and juices
While these beverages may be tasty, serving your little one too many sugary drinks, such as juice, can cause them to develop cavities in addition to unwanted sugar rushes. These drinks are packed with sugars which cause damage to your child tooth enamel. Further, when you serve juice in a sippy cup, the juice pools in your child’s mouth longer than if it were drunk from a straw or a regular glass. This causes the sugar to stick to your child’s teeth longer. Not to mention, that many parents allow their child to sip on juice throughout the day, causing the sugar to build up over time in the mouth, and allowing bacteria to build-up over time on the child’s sippy cup.

In order to prevent enamel damage, consider reducing the amount of sugary drinks that you include in your child diet. Reducing juices to 120-175 mL daily, and only serving it with a meal, rather than as a snack or on the go, can prevent the development of cavities. Also, if your child is old enough, consider only serving juice with a straw in order to reduce the amount of sugar contact with your child’s teeth.

2.Avoid sticky snacks
Most parents know not to give their children excessive sugary snacks such as candy, but many are unaware of the hidden dangers of sticky snacks that are often advertised as healthy options. Raisins, fruit snacks, and granola bars are just a few of the most common culprits of tooth decay which parents should be wary of. These sticky snacks will adhere to your child’s teeth, often getting lodged between the cracks, causing cavities and spreading bacteria to the gums.

While these treats may seem like healthy options, it is best to replace them with non-sticky snacks such as grapes, strawberries, watermelon, apples, and other fruits. Even sweet treats like ice cream and chocolate can actually be healthier for your child’s dental health than sticky dried fruits.

3.Switch to whole grains
Young children often gravitate towards white foods such as white bread, plain pasta, and white rice as their favourite dinner options. However, these foods consist of simple carbs which break down into sugar and can easily stick to your child’s teeth. In order to prevent cavities and gum disease, integrate more multigrain and whole grain options into your child diet. But not all white foods are bad, calcium-rich foods and beverages, such as milk and cheese, can help your child build strong and healthy teeth.

Making these easy changes to your child’s diet can help protect them from tooth decay and lead to a higher quality of life.

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