In today’s world it seems everywhere you turn there is temptation to buy foods full of sugar, preservatives, and artificial ingredients. For a child, a diet high in these foods can severely impact their overall health and their oral health. These foods contribute to decay which can wreak havoc on the teeth. At our pediatric office we strive to help each child achieve excellent oral healthcare and educate parents and caregivers on how to help.
Why acid and sugar are so harmful
Sugar is extremely harmful to your child’s oral health because it acts as a fuel to the bacteria already in their mouth. When sugar is ingested the bacteria found naturally in the mouth feeds off of it and these bacteria will produce acid as their waste product. Acid that remains on the teeth for too long will cause the protective layer, enamel, of the tooth to soften. When this happens it leaves the teeth unprotected and the acid from the bacteria can causes cavities to form. When left untreated this decay in some cases can cause an infection and result in tooth loss.
How to reduce sugar and acid intake
Since there are so many products out there that contain both sugar and acid it’s important to educate your child and yourself on how to read nutrition labels. For example, ingredients like high-fructose corn syrup or alcohol based sugars feed the bacteria in the mouth the same as cane sugar does. When you see citric acid listed as one of the first ingredients it means the beverage or food is acidic. This is why we always encourage the consumption of water to help rinse out the mouth and maintain healthy oral hygiene. Your child should also be visiting a dentist for regular dental care so they can be educated and encouraged to make good nutrition choices.
The combination of sugar and acid can cause a lot of problems. Do your best to help your child know what is right from wrong and as always please feel free to call our office if you have any questions.