Parents are often surprised to discover how frequently sweets are handed out to kids. No matter how much you try, at some point, your child is going to eat sweets. We know that cavities in kids are common and we know that sugar causes cavities. How then can parents manage this tricky issue?
Sugar is Sugar
The bacteria that live in everyone’s mouths like to eat sugar. These bacteria produce acid after eating sugar. The bacteria in your mouth don’t care if the sugar is from organic apple juice, mountain dew, or maple syrup. They just like sugar.
It’s All About Frequency
The more often you eat sweets, the more often it feeds the bacteria in your mouth. The more often the bacteria are fed, the more often they produce acid. The more often we have acid in our mouths, the more it eats away at our teeth and causes cavities. So, having dessert after a meal is not likely to cause cavities, but sipping a glass of apple juice for 2 hours will.
Watch the Type of Sweet
Not all sweets are equal. Some pass through the mouth quickly, while others stick on the teeth or take a long time to eat. Sweets such as raisins, fruit leathers, gummy candies, and prepackaged energy bars will stay behind on your child’s teeth long after he is done eating them. Hard candies that are sucked on and kept in the mouth for long periods of time will also create a prolonged exposure to sugar.
Don’t Live in Denial
Parents may successfully keep their kids away from sweets for the first few years of life, but at some point they discover sweets. It is tempting to deny your kids all forms of sugar. Keep in mind that kids can be hardwired to like sweets. If kids are denied sweets and they are associated with scarcity, they may respond by craving the foods they have been denied. So, it’s ok to have sweets. Just make sure it’s in moderation.
Choose Your Time
When times like Halloween roll around, pick a time for your kids to eat the candy. After that time, throw the candy out. Tell your kids, “You can eat as much candy as you want on Saturday from 12:00 – 1:00.”
After that, throw the candy out. Have it completely removed from your house. If you don’t throw it out and instead hide it in a drawer, you’ll end up nibbling away at it.
Fight the Battle at the Grocery Store
Once sweets make it into your home, it is difficult not to eat them. It can be hard for your kids not to sip on juice after you just purchased a super-sized carton of juice packs. Instead, do your best to make sure the foods that come into your home will be healthy for your family.
If you’re looking for a Portland pediatric dentist, we would love to be of service to you! Call us at 503-297-1711 to get started or schedule an appointment.