Tooth decay is on the rise, according to a recent New York Times article. The article explains how preschool children are being seen with ten or more cavities at a time. Many of these children have to undergo extensive surgery to repair their forming teeth. Avoid costly dental treatments by taking steps to prevent problems in the first place. Prevention is always better than trying to repair the damage.
Aside from regular brushing, parents can give their children a helping hand in the dental hygiene department by avoiding certain foods. If your child does consume these common cavity culprits, be sure to clean teeth especially well afterward.
Limit these treats:
Candy - You knew this was going to top the list. Sticky candies and sweets allow sugar to stay on the tooth for a long time while sour candies are doubly bad. High sugar plus the high acid count in sour candy makes these doubly bad and if you add the sticky factor too like in a baggie of sour gummy worms, then you are just asking for trouble!
Fruit snacks - These are really not a whole lot better than sticky candy. Like juice, the nutritional value is not worth the damage these treats can create.
Starchy snack food - Highly processed foods such as potato chips, white bread, pasta and pastries can leave a lingering residue on teeth and become lodged between teeth causing damage long after the treat was eaten.
Sugared cereals - Regardless of the claims of whole grains or other enrichment, the sugar content and potential for lingering starchy bits make these a poor choice.
Limit these drinks:
Soda - The sugar content in soda is not the only damaging ingredient. These carbonated beverages contain citric acid and phosphoric acid which can erode tooth enamel.
Juice - It is unfortunately common to see children sipping processed juice all day from a bottle or sippy cup. The sugars and acids that these fragile teeth are bathed in all day outweigh the vitamins these drinks contain. Offer water as an alternative.
Sports drinks - It may seem like a much healthier alternative, but the real benefit in sports drinks are designed for those engaged in intense physical activity. If your child is simply thirsty, offer water first. The sugar and acid content in these drinks can cause more damage than carbonated soft drinks.
When it comes to kids and cavities, one of the main culprits is the abundance of snacks. Eating and sipping all day long is simply not a healthy habit especially when it comes to dental health. Requiring kids to brush after every meal, and snack, can help to limit the problems and eventually the desire to eat all day.
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