As parents, we strive to provide our children with a healthy and happy life. While regular brushing and flossing are crucial, it’s equally important to be mindful of the foods and drinks our children enjoy every day. At Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontic Specialists of Michigan, we’re here to help parents identify the worst food and drink culprits for their kid’s teeth, so they can avoid (or limit) them.
Sticky and Sugary Snacks are a Big Threat to Teeth
When it comes to your child’s dental health, foods with sticky textures and sugary drinks should be limited.
Sticky treats, such as gummy candies, fruit roll-ups, and caramel, tend to cling to the teeth, providing a long-lasting feast for bacteria that ingest sugar and make an acid byproduct that dissolves our tooth enamel.
Acidic Drinks: A Double Whammy for Tooth Enamel
Drinks like soda, fruit juices, and sports drinks can be particularly harmful to your child’s teeth. The high levels of acid erode and soften tooth enamel, making the teeth more susceptible to cavities even if your child is brushing and flossing every day. Encourage your child to drink fluoridated tap water during the day instead.
Acidic and sugary drinks are perhaps a little more dangerous as they can get into the grooves of the teeth where toothbrush bristles do not fit. Additionally, juices can flow between the teeth, feeding the bacteria hiding there, especially when daily flossing is not a habit. Perhaps the most underrated risk of liquid sugars is that they tend to be consumed over periods of time with multiple exposures. Every sip is a new exposure of the teeth to sugar and, perhaps, acid. This constant assault on the teeth is much more dangerous than one sugary/acidic exposure that starts and stops over a short amount of time.
Starchy Foods: Sneaky Culprits
Foods like chips, crackers, and bread may seem harmless, but they can contribute to tooth decay. When these foods break down, they convert into simple sugars that feed bacteria in the mouth. Limit starchy snacks and processed carbs when possible and go with whole grains instead.
A Better Plan
Instead of sticky sugary foods and liquid sugars, consider encouraging your child to enjoy healthier snacks and habits:
- fresh fruits, vegetables, or cheese
- Liquids that are not very acidic or sugary
- Fluoridated water actually strengthens teeth
- Low or zero sugar versions of many beverages and sweet treats And, when they do get special treats
- Encourage them to enjoy them over short amounts of time
- Eat treats with meals that can offset the harmful sugar and acid effects on the teeth
Schedule Your Child’s Consultation
Regular dental check-ups play a vital role in your child’s oral health. From the actual cleaning to ongoing learning about how to take better care of one’s teeth while they grow, your child is much less likely to have dental problems when they stay current with their routine dental visits.
At Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontic Specialists of Michigan, our experienced and friendly team is dedicated to providing the highest quality care for your child’s smile. Give us a call today!