Establishing good eating habits in children is important because what they eat directly impacts their oral health. By teaching children to eat foods low in sugar, they will have healthier, stronger teeth and fewer dental issues in adulthood.
The Impact of Sugar on Children’s Teeth
It only takes about 20 seconds for bacteria in the mouth to convert sugar into the acid that destroys tooth enamel. This is why it is important to monitor children’s sugar intake.
It is best to keep sugar intake to a minimum. Choices such as fresh fruits (as opposed to dried fruits like raisins), vegetables, popcorn and nuts are good options because they do not have as much sugar in them as processed snacks and candy. When possible, children should brush their teeth after consuming sugary foods.
Sugar is found in not only foods, but also drinks. Juice may seem healthy but, in reality, it has a high amount of sugar. Be especially careful if your child is still bottle-feeding, as fluids can remain in your child’s mouth, which can be like soaking your child’s teeth in sugar. Learn about baby bottle tooth decay.
Water is typically a better choice, as most tap water has fluoride to help fight tooth decay. Contact the local water utility service to learn the fluoride level in the water to ensure your child is getting the proper amount. It’s possible for your child to consume too much fluoride, which causes dental fluorosis.
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