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Why a General Dentist Wants Your Child to Avoid Sugar
You may have heard from a general dentist that you need to cut down on your child’s sugar supply. If your child is only interested in chocolates and other sugary treats, you are not alone. Most children are biologically wired to prefer sweeter and saltier foods than grown-ups. While sugary treats are not bad in and of themselves, they should be considered occasional treats. This article explains the effect of sugar on children’s oral health and how to help them cultivate better oral habits.
The effect of sugar on oral health
Everyone knows that excess sugar intake can cause cavities, but they may not know how it happens. It is not exactly the sugar itself that causes the damage, but the events that occur after eating or drinking. The mouth houses many bacteria. When children eat or drink sugary treats and fail to clean their teeth afterward, the bacteria will bind with the sugar to stick to the teeth’s surface.
The bacteria will feed on the sugar and multiply quickly, forming plaque and generating acids in the process. The acid breaks down tooth enamel. Tooth cavities are a bacterial infection caused when the acids bore a hole into the teeth. If untreated, the cavities may worsen beyond the enamel and dig deeper into the tooth’s core containing the nerves. This will cause pain and potential tooth loss.
Protecting the child’s teeth
Good oral hygiene is essential for everybody. However, for children who often consume plenty of sugar in their foods and drinks, thorough and effective teeth cleaning becomes even more paramount. Parents can take the following steps to protect their child’s teeth from the harmful effects of sugar.
Brush and floss regularly
Brushing and flossing thoroughly are the most effective methods of removing plaque from the teeth. Parents should assist their children with the process. Be sure that they use a suitable amount of fluoride toothpaste when brushing. Brushing should be done twice daily and include the tongue because bacteria tend to accumulate there too. Flossing will help get rid of debris that may accumulate between the teeth.
Reduce sugary foods and drinks
Oral health and diet go together. Bacteria need to eat to multiply, and consuming sugary foods helps that process. Parents should cut down on sodas, fruit juice, candies and sports drinks. Limiting the child’s sugar consumption, especially after brushing at night, will help keep bad bacteria in check.
Schedule regular dental checkups
It is important that parents take their children for regular dental checkups and cleanings with a general dentist. According to the American Dental Association, every child should undergo routine cleaning and examination every six months. This will allow the dentist to check the child’s teeth for signs of cavities and other oral health issues.
By reducing the child's sugar intake and showing them how to brush and floss properly, you will be able to prevent the harmful effects of sugar on their teeth and dental health. Include routine visits to the general dentist, and you have a better shot at winning the fight against tooth decay.
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