Whether it’s during holidays or birthday parties, your children will always find ways to get their hands on some candy. This just goes to show that you couldn’t truly ban sweets from your child’s life. However, allowing your child to indulge every once in a while but still maintaining control over your kid’s eating habits will benefit your child’s oral health in the long-term.
If you’re determined to control your child’s candy consumption, here are a few things Dr. Breazeal wants you to know:
Fact No. 1
Tooth decay is one of the most common chronic conditions affecting children. In fact, studies have shown that around one-third of children aged 5-12 exhibit signs of tooth decay. Because of the high incidence of tooth decay among children, this condition is often the cause of toothache among kids.
Fact No. 2
It is how sweets are consumed which cause tooth decay, not the amount. Sugar, which is a major component of candies and sweet drinks, is consumed by bacteria inside your mouth with the latter producing acids as products of metabolism. Hence, the longer that sugar sticks on the surfaces and crevices of your child’s teeth, the more disastrous the effects would be. Hard candy isn’t as harmful as chewy candies, which stick longer and are more difficult to remove. At the same time, juices and soda can cause an acid attack on your child’s teeth for an entire hour because the method of drinking exposes their teeth to sugars for a longer period of time.
Fact No. 3
Not all sweet candies are harmful. For instance, sugarless gum can actually help your child fight off tooth decay. This is because the action of chewing encourages the production of saliva, which helps to neutralize any acids that could damage the enamel. Other than chewing gum, another way that you can cut the acid attacks is by incorporating alkaline foods such as cheeses and milk which have the same neutralizing effect as saliva.
Fact No. 4
Just because you’re giving fruits do not mean you’re doing your child’s teeth a favor. For instance, dried fruits may have the same effect as candy because they are extremely chewy, and the sugars can linger on your child’s teeth, causing an acid attack that will stretch out for a longer period of time. In fact, dentists are advising parents to avoid giving their children 7-10 snacks per day in order to limit their children’s exposure to sugar.
If you have questions about protecting your children’s teeth, make sure to ask Dr. Max Breazeal for his recommendations!