It’s common knowledge that consuming too much sugar can lead to tooth decay, but you may not know exactly how that happens. It’s not so much the sugar itself that causes damage but what takes place after you eat or drink. This knowledge is especially important when monitoring what your child eats and how their food could affect their oral health. Let’s look at how sugar affects a child’s teeth and the different things you can do to keep your kid’s mouth healthy and bright!
What Happens to Your Child’s Teeth When They Eat Sugar?
Our mouths are full of bacteria. When your child eats or drinks anything with lots of sugar and doesn’t clean their teeth thoroughly afterward, that bacteria will use the sugar to stick to the surface of the teeth and feed itself. As it feeds, it quickly multiplies, forming plaque and producing acid. This acid destroys the tooth enamel, which is the tooth’s protective outer layer. Cavities are essentially bacterial infections created by these acids forming a hole in the teeth. Left untreated, cavities are able to progress beyond the enamel and deeper into the tooth, causing pain and possible tooth loss.
How You Can Protect Your Child’s Smile Against Sugar
Good oral hygiene is important for everyone to practice, but for children who tend to consume large amounts of sugar from their food and drinks, cleaning the teeth thoroughly and effectively becomes even more crucial.
If you think your child may be at risk of developing cavities because of a sweet tooth, here are three tips to help protect their teeth and keep their smiles safe from tooth decay and cavities without cutting out all their sugary treats.
The most effective way to remove plaque from the teeth is by brushing regularly and thoroughly. Using the appropriate amount of fluoride toothpaste for their age, show your child how to brush for the best results – brushing back and forth along the front, back, and top of the teeth for at least two minutes, at least twice a day. The same bacteria that sticks to the teeth also clings to the tongue, so don’t forget to have your child brush their tongue, too, to remove bacteria that can cause bad breath and other issues.
Plaque doesn’t discriminate – not only does it attack the visible surfaces of the teeth, it also accumulates in between them. By teaching your child to floss daily, you’ll be helping them break up all that plaque and remove it before it can cause cavities or even eventual gum disease.
Drink more water
Water is the best thing your child can drink! Not only will it keep them hydrated, it’s good for their body and also great for their dental health. Since most tap water contains fluoride, having your child drink water after consuming sugary acidic foods helps dilute and rinse away any cavity-producing bacteria in between brushings. Water is also beneficial in keeping saliva plentiful, which provides a natural defense against plaque acids.
The Importance of Regular Dental Check-Ups
In addition to excellent oral hygiene at home, there’s simply no substitute for scheduling regular professional evaluations with your child’s dentist. For the health of their teeth and gums, a routine cleaning and examination is recommended every six months. Your child’s teeth will be checked thoroughly for any signs of cavities or other dental issues. This allows potential issues to be caught early in most cases when measures can be taken to prevent them from getting worse.
Give Your Child Their Healthiest Smile with Children’s Dental Center
Our practice is passionate about keeping your child’s smile looking and feeling great. We can do that by working as a team with you and your child! If you have any questions or concerns about their oral health, get in touch today to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced dentists!