How Does Sugar Affect the Oral Health of Your Child?

How Does Sugar Affect the Oral Health of Your Child?

September 1, 2022

Nowadays, sugar is the main ingredient in most favorite foods. Many crave sugary items like pie, candy, cookies, and ice cream. Sugar hides in large amounts in fruit-flavored yogurt, soda, ketchup, and spaghetti sauce.

While there’s no reason to worry about an occasional sugary snack, regular and large amounts of sugary items can affect your child’s smile and increase their risks of developing serious health conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure. American Heart Association guides that children aged 2 – 18 shouldn’t take more than 25 grams of sugar daily.

In this article, let’s discuss more how sugar can affect your child’s oral health and how you can protect their future smile.

Sugar and Your Child’s Oral Health

If you’ve noticed that your child’s teeth have developed cavities or sensitivity or their gums are sore or sensitive, excess sugar might be to blame. While most people know that too much sugar can lead to decay and gum disease, some don’t know how exactly it happens.

Naturally, your mouth contains good and bad bacteria, which feed on the sugars and carbs you eat. When your child takes too much sugar or starch, it leads to an overgrowth of bacteria. If your child doesn’t brush or floss their teeth and mouth thoroughly, these bacteria mix with food debris to form plaque. If not eliminated on time, plaque hardens to form tartar, a yellow sticky bacterial deposit that accumulates on teeth and around the gum line.

Over time, the bacteria release harmful acids that erode the teeth’ enamel, forming small holes. When the enamel is compromised, bacteria enter the tooth, infecting the tooth’s pulp and causing decay. Your child will likely experience side effects like tooth pain or sensitivity and facial swelling at this stage.

The decay can spread further, leading to tooth loss and bone damage. Besides causing decay, the bacteria also irritates the gum tissues, causing inflammation known as gum disease. High amounts of bacteria in the mouth can also cause bad breath and oral thrush. Contact our dentists in Calgary, AB, for children’s dentistry near you.

Protecting Your Child’s Smile

Fortunately, you can prevent oral issues and protect your child’s future smile. If you’re worried that your kid might develop cavities and gum disease because of a sweet tooth, below are workable tips to protect their teeth and mouth and maintain oral health.

  • Brush regularly and thoroughly.

Brushing teeth is the best way to remove debris and bacteria from the mouth and prevent gum disease and decay. Your child must brush their teeth after taking sugary, sticky, and starchy foods to prevent plaque. If your child is very young, you can help or guide them. Ensure they brush their teeth and tongue gently and thoroughly for at least two minutes, at least twice daily.

  • Floss daily.

While brushing is effective, it might not be able to remove all particles trapped between the teeth. Teaching your child to floss daily will help remove debris and plaque trapped between the teeth, which could potentially cause decay and gum disease.

  • Use fluoride

Fluoride is a natural mineral common in tap water. You can also get fluoride in certain toothpaste or professional fluoride treatments from the dentist. Fluoride helps remineralizes the tooth’s enamel and strengthen teeth, protecting them from cavities. Fluoride can help reverse or manage the early stages of cavities and gum disease.

  • Drink enough water.

Water is the best drink for your child’s dental and overall well-being. Water prevents a dry mouth, which makes your child vulnerable to bad breath, oral thrush, tooth decay, and gum disease. Water keeps your child’s mouth moist, helps wash away plaque and debris, and neutralizes acids that cause decay. Ensure your child takes water after eating sugary or acidic foods.

  • Eat healthy foods for your mouth.

As we’ve seen above, a lot of sugar is bad for your child’s teeth. You can give your child healthy food options like apples, honey, coconut, celery, pears, grapes, broccoli, kales, spinach, dairy products, nuts, and lean proteins. Be sure to limit the sugary items they take like soda, fruit juices, and sports drinks.

  • Schedule regular pediatric checkups.

In addition to eating healthy and having excellent oral hygiene, take your child to the pediatric dentist for routine dental check-ups every six months. The dentist will be checked for potential problems like decay and other signs and provide treatment if necessary.

Schedule an Appointment Today

Are you looking for children’s dentistry in Calgary, AB? Contact Sunridge Dental Clinic to schedule an appointment today.

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