Why Your Kid Should Avoid Eating Sugary Foods
Most parents and caregivers try to get kids to eat snacks and foods that are good for their bodies and which contain all the essential nutrients. However this is not always so easy, particularly with so many TV commercials advertising sugary foods, and it’s likely that not all their friends have a tooth friendly diet. While it might be simpler to give in and say yes when your kid wants something bad for their teeth, it’s worth holding firm for the sake of their dental health.
What Type of Foods Do Kids Need?
All the experts are in agreement that kids need a balanced diet that includes foods from all the major food groups. This will help them grow up healthy and strong, protecting their overall health. Problems can arise when a kid’s diet contains too many starches and sugary foods as these can cause general health problems and greatly increase the risk of tooth decay.
Why Are Starches and Sugars Bad for Teeth?
This is because bacteria in the mouth use these sugars and starches for food which enables them to thrive and multiply. As they do so, they create strong acids that gradually dissolve the tooth enamel, causing decay. In the worst-case the decay can reach the nerves of a tooth that are located right in the center. When this happens a tooth can become badly infected and abscessed, a condition that is not only painful but which can be harmful to general health. So what can you do if you want to make healthy food choices for your child?
Be Aware That Certain Foods Are Bad for Teeth
Most parents are aware that foods that are particularly high in sugars such as cookies, candies and cake are bad for teeth. However some so-called healthy snacks can also be pretty detrimental to your child’s dental health. These include some cereals and cereal bars, chips and dried fruit snacks. If you read the labels of certain cereals then you might be surprised to learn how much hidden sugars they contain. In addition some cereals such as granola can be quite sticky and will cling to tooth surfaces increasing the risk of acid erosion. It’s the same problem with dried fruits as these can be spectacularly high in concentrated sugars and are great for getting stuck in between teeth. Chips are full of starch and also stick to teeth.
Keep Sugary Foods for Main Meals
It’s unrealistic to cut out all sugary foods from a child’s diet, but instead make sure they eat them as part of the main meal when they’ll do less damage compared to eating them in between meals. It can help to limit the amount of sugary foods you keep at home so they aren’t tempted to snack in between meals.
Encourage Your Kid to Drink Milk or Water
Fruit juice is often marketed as being healthy, but if you read the labels it’s pretty high in sugar. Sodas are even worse and the diet versions contain high amounts of citric acid. Instead, encourage your child to drink milk or water to keep their teeth healthy and strong.
Keep a Good Supply of Tooth Friendly Foods
Make sure your kitchen has plenty of tooth friendly foods that your child can snack on, including whole fruits and crunchy vegetables, low sugar yogurts and cheese. Hopefully eating healthily will soon become a habit.
We Can Offer Dietary Advice
The Kids Dentistry Center is always able to offer dietary advice and of course you can talk to any of our pediatric dentists including Dr. Marina Krepkh. We can give you more customized advice on the best tooth friendly diet for your kid.