Children’s love for sugar is a well-known fact. Very few of them do not want all things sweet. Hard candies, lollies, gummies, cotton candies, ice-creams, chocolates, cookies, etc. are just to name a few of their favourites. By and by we also love to surprise them with sweets. But have you ever wondered what all this sugar is doing to your kids’ teeth and when to stop?
According to the latest National Child Oral Health Study, nearly half of the children have experienced tooth decay by the age of 9-10. The bacteria in their mouths feed on this sugar and produce harmful acids that weaken the enamel. Unfortunately, many kids and teens are still consuming lots of sugar in the form of soft drinks, fruit juices, and snacks.
But on the bright side, you can take steps to reduce this harm and provide your kids with the nutrition that they require. Some decay is the result of a high-sugar diet combined with poor oral hygiene habits. Proper diet and oral hygiene can go a long way.
6 Ways to Protect Your Children’s Teeth
Let’s have a look at the 6 ways to sideline sugar and protect your children’s teeth.
1. Avoid or Limit Sugary Drinks
Perhaps this is the most obvious suggestion, but it is an important one and works wonders.
Soft drinks, fruit juices, and sugar-sweetened drinks make a major part of the high-sugar diet that can harm your kids’ teeth. This sugar can also lead to weight gain and increase the risk of other health conditions. Even if you go for sugar-free varieties of cola, they are acidic enough to weaken and erode the teeth.
You can reduce the risk of tooth decay by encouraging your kids to drink water or milk instead which can help strengthen their teeth, particularly when the water is fluoridated. If they cannot give them up altogether, they can always have these drinks through a straw to avoid contact with teeth. Rinsing their mouth with plain water after and not having these drinks just before bed can help too.
2. Always Read the Labels
A big step toward limiting sugar intake is to know what you are buying. Reading the labels before buying anything can give you a rough idea of how much sugar is contained in it. You should also check for the naturally occurring sugars in the ingredients such as fructose or lactose. Look for the added sugars with a variety of names and choose the ones with less sugar.
3. Cut Down on Sugar at Breakfast
It is always a great plan to start their day with a healthy breakfast. You can replace sugary spreads like jam and honey with low-fat cream, cottage cheese, and sliced banana. Buying wholegrain instead of refined cereals and offering a piece of fresh fruit rather than fruit juice can also help limit the amount of sugar that is consumed.
4. Pack A Healthy Lunchbox
A healthy diet is key to maintaining good oral and overall health. To make sure your kid has the necessary nutrition throughout a day, start with preparing a balanced lunchbox. Pack a lunch with balanced amounts of grains in the form of bread, cooked pasta or rice, fresh vegetables as salads, protein, dairy, and fresh fruit. Also do not forget to provide them with water or milk for the day.
5. Rethink Your Recipes
You can reduce the sugar intake almost by half when you start replacing it with healthier ingredients for recipes like home-made drinks and desserts. When making cold drinks for summer, fresh fruit smoothies are healthier alternatives to milkshake and fruit juice. While baking, you can replace sugar with apple puree and mashed banana, and chocolate with raw cacao.
6. Follow Good Oral Hygiene
Eventually, it all comes down to a proper oral hygiene routine, because if reduced sugar intake is not accompanied by oral hygiene, your kids might still have tooth decay. Establish a healthy oral hygiene routine as early as you can. Often, younger children need help while brushing their teeth. You can help them, and it will also increase your awareness of the growth and conditions related to their teeth.
Going for routine dental check-ups at your dentist’s is also an important part of routine oral care. Dentists can monitor their developing teeth and treat any small problems before they turn serious. For more information related to caring for your kid’s teeth, feel free to consult our children dentists at Ashton Avenue Dental Practice in Claremont. You can also book an appointment with a call on 08 6183 3800.