Now more than ever, kids are faced with a bewildering array of food choices — from fresh produce to sugar-laden processed convenience meals and snack foods. What children eat and when they eat it may affect not only their general health but also their oral health.
Americans are consuming foods and drinks high in sugar and starches more often and in larger portions than ever before. In the U.S., on average, individuals consume approximately 50 gallons of sugary beverages per year!
Alarmingly, a steady diet of sugary foods and drinks can ruin teeth, especially among those who snack throughout the day. When sugar is consumed over and over again in large, often hidden amounts, the harmful effect on teeth can be dramatic. Sugar on teeth provides food for bacteria, which produce acid. The acid in turn can eat away the enamel on teeth.
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Between dental visits, try these healthy tips at home:
- Limit between-meal snacks. If kids crave a snack, offer them nutritious foods.
- Sugary foods and drinks should be consumed with meals. Saliva production increases during meals and helps
neutralize acid production and rinse food particles from the mouth.
- If your kids chew gum, make it sugarless – Chewing sugarless gum after eating can increase saliva flow and help
wash out food and decay-producing acid.
- Monitor beverage consumption – Children should make healthy beverage choices such water and low-fat milk.
- Help your children develop good brushing and flossing habits.