Sugar & Your Child’s Oral Health- Tips for Parents & Families
The 2018 Sugar Awareness Week is here and It is common knowledge that sugar is bad for your teeth. As science progresses, one thing is certain: sugar causes tooth decay.
We often see a lot of tooth decay in young children’s teeth, decay which could have been prevented. It is essential patients and parents start thinking about what they and their family are eating and encourage a well-balanced diet.
What is Tooth Decay?
Sugar plays a harmful role in tooth decay. Bacteria forms together and becomes plaque that uses sugar as a form of energy. Some of the bacteria turns the sugar into a sort of glue-like substance that sticks itself to the tooth’s surface. This makes it harder for the bacteria to be washed away by saliva.
Sugar and Tooth Decay
Sugars in food and drinks play a major role in the development of dental caries. Bacteria within the plaque use the sugar as energy and release acid as a waste product, which gradually dissolve the enamel in the teeth.
Who is at Risk for Tooth Decay?
Everyone is at risk of tooth decay, but children and adolescents are the most at risk. Dental caries are the most common cause of tooth loss in young people. Plaque begins to build up on teeth only 20 minutes after we begin eating and if it is not removed efficiently, tooth decay begins to develop. Those who regularly consume sugar have a higher risk of developing dental caries, particularly if the food they eat is sticky or between mealtimes.
Even though some children are at much higher risk of developing cavities, all kids can get them.
Here are our top tips to keep your child’s teeth and smile healthy:
- Reduce Sugary Snacks and Drinks: Limiting sugar- The risk of developing tooth decay increases as the amount and frequency of sugar consumption rises. This includes juices, infant formula, even milk!
- Brush Twice a Day: Keeping teeth clean by regular brushing help prevents decay developing on the tooth’s surface. Dentists recommend brushing in between meals, but at least twice a day, morning and night. Make sure to clean your baby’s gums with a wet cloth even before the first teeth erupt!
- Fluoride: Focus on fluoride! Children and adults should brush regularly twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and drink water with fluoride added!
- Visit the Dentist: Ask your dentists at Rhode Island Children’s Dentistry how often you should visit and keep your appointments! If oral health problems are spotted early, they can be treated much easier. Dr. Gordon or any dentist at Rhode Island Children’s Dentistry can answer any questions you may have about the best way to look after your child’s teeth.
- Watch out for ‘hidden sugars’: Pure fruit juices can be a healthy choice, but the natural sugars these contain can still damage your little one’s teeth. Hidden sugars can also be found in fruit and infant formula.
Give us a Call!
We would love to speak with you more about your child and their dental needs. It is essential to to establish a dental home early on, so we suggest that parents bring in toddlers right after the first tooth emerges. At Rhode Island Children’s Dentistry, we see children of all ages, so call us and schedule an office tour! We want to make visiting the dentist fun, so stop by in any of our office to see why our pediatric dentistry is the way to go for your children!