Us parents have been hearing about how sweets rot your teeth since the beginning of time. Yet, it never stopped us from eating them whenever we got the chance, right? Now, as a responsible adult whose child is is overindulging on holiday cookies and candy, have you ever wondered what those sugary treats are actually doing to their teeth?
You’ll be surprised to know that it isn’t the sugar that’s all bad. It has a lot to do with how and when you eat the candy, too.
If you want to learn how to prevent cavities in your kids’ teeth, you need to know how to teach them the right way to consume sweet snacks. Let’s talk about what sugar really does to your teeth…fact vs. myth.
Sugar Sticks to Teeth
Carbohydrates and sugar from snacks like cake, cookies and candy, as well as starches from snacks like chips and pretzels, damage your kids’ teeth because they stay on the tooth for too long. The longer they stay on your teeth, the more damage they can cause.
Foods like caramel and jelly beans are double the trouble. Not only do they contain sugar, but they’re also stickier and harder to remove from the spaces between your teeth.
Your saliva tries its best to wash everything down. But, when food is sticky, plus sugary to boot, it becomes a recipe for disaster. When the good bacteria in your mouth try digesting these sugars, they release an acid that eventually turns into plaque.
So, if you’re constantly snacking, you’re recreating the perfect environment for plaque buildup. This plaque is what will eventually rot your teeth.
Regular Brushing Can Prevent Plaque
So, how do you protect your teeth while also getting to enjoy your favorite snacks? You have to teach your kids how to master the art of:
- Frequent brushing
- Getting rid of the sticky candy stuck on the surface of their teeth
Try to get your children into the habit of brushing as soon as they’ve had a sugary snack. The sooner you brush, the sooner you’ll get the stickiness out before it has time to settle in. This will also reduce the amount of work the bacteria in your mouth have to do. So, they’ll release less acid and you’ll develop less plaque.
Choose Your Snacks Wisely
There are a lot of smart snack choices you can make if you want to know how to prevent cavities. Firstly, you can lower the amount of hard, sticky candies like lollipops and mints that your child has. These stay on the teeth long enough to damage the enamel and “rot your teeth”.
Encourage kids to eat healthier snacks instead, like fruits and vegetables that contain a lot of water. Buy calcium-rich snacks like milk, broccoli and yogurt, which fight plaque and help teeth become stronger.
Keep a glass of water beside your kids’ food when they’re eating as well. This promotes saliva production and helps gets rid of the little pieces of food stuck between their teeth. If you do decide to give your kids sugary snacks, offer them during dinner and lunch times. Your mouth is producing more saliva at this time and has an easier time digesting sugar.
As long as you remember to brush after snacks and avoid the ones that give your oral bacteria a hard time, you’ll be able to save your kids’ teeth from rotting. So, myth (somewhat) busted!
If you don’t have a local Boca Raton Pediatric dentist yet, come in for a visit! Contact Junior Smiles today:
Boca Raton, FL 33496