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How sugar affects teeth (spoiler: it’s not good)

January 15, 2016

pediatric dentist thornton coSo you know that sugar isn’t good for teeth, that it can cause decay and infection — especially in young mouths. But if you’re a parent, you probably also know that the battle against sugar in your child’s diet is constant… and it may feel like you’re always losing. Keep reading to learn a little bit more about how the substance affects your child’s smile, and then get some tips on how you can protect his little teeth from decay in 2016! The pediatric dentist in Thornton CO is here to help.

All about sugar and teeth

The surprising thing about sugar is it’s not the stuff itself that causes decay — it’s actually the chain of events that the substance sets into action. When your child drinks a soda or chews on a stick of sugary gum, some of the bacteria that live on the teeth combine with the sugars that are left behind in the mouth, and this reaction creates the harmful acids which break down tooth enamel. Once the tooth enamel, or the shiny, clear, hard substance that surrounds your teeth, has been damaged, cavities form. Cavities are the small holes that, when left untreated, can later turn into big time dental problems that require root canal or even extraction.

Protecting your child’s teeth from sugar

Read the labels

You already know the major offenders when it comes to sugar — it’s soda, gum and your child’s favorite treats. But did you know sugar also lurks in many places you wouldn’t expect? Some of these surprise sugar sources include:

  • Fruit juices
  • Yogurt
  • Cereal bars
  • Sports drinks

Keep an eye on the nutrition information of the items you’re stocking your pantry with — knowing which items are hiding sugar can help you improve the oral health of everyone in your family.

Encourage him to rinse with water

We know all children will indulge in a sugary snack from time to time — and we think they should, too. Help your little one understand that it’s ok to enjoy sweets in moderation, but encourage him to rinse his mouth with water afterward. This is a small step that goes far in removing excess sugar from the teeth, and with any luck it’ll become a clean feeling he craves after consuming sugar.

Schedule regular visits to the dentist

You can help your child the most by helping him maintain regular visits to the kids dentist in Thornton CO! These twice-annual appointments are crucial for removing the plaque and tartar that cause cavities. If it’s been awhile since your child’s last visit, please don’t wait to contact our office and schedule a convenient appointment today.

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