The American Dental Association have dedicated the entire month of February to ‘National Children’s Dental Health Month’. Here at St James Dental we would like to do the same!
To kick off our NEW blog which is accessible via our website, facebook and Instagram pages we are going to be talking about all things dental and children! We will have lots of information as well as tips and tricks to help you keep your little one’s mouth as healthy as possible!
Now more than ever, children 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 can affect not only their general health but also their oral health.
Children are consuming foods and drinks high in sugar more often and in larger portions than ever before. It’s clear that junk foods and drinks have gradually replaced nutritious beverages and foods for many people. For example, in the U.K we consume an average of 322 cans of sugary drinks a year! This is equivalent to 2L per week! This places the U.K as the world’s seventh highest consumer of soft drinks! Alarmingly, a steady diet of sugary foods and drinks can ruin teeth, especially among those who snack throughout the day. Common activities that may contribute to an increased risk of tooth decay.
- Grazing habitually on foods with minimal nutritional value, these are usually high in hidden sugars (sweets, chocolate, flavoured yoghurts, crisps).
- Frequently sipping on sugary drinks.
- Consuming too much sugar can also affect your overall health, such as becoming overweight/obese, developing heart disease or type 2 diabetes.
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 leading to decay and ultimately the need for fillings.
Almost all foods have some type of sugar that cannot and should not be eliminated from our diets entirely. Many of these foods contain important nutrients and add enjoyment to eating. But there is a risk of tooth decay from a diet high in sugars.
Our tips to reduce your children’s risk of developing tooth decay:
- Sugary foods and drinks should be consumed occasionally and accompany a meal.
- Limit between-meal snacks. If your children are hungry or crave a snack, offer them nutritious low sugar foods such as natural yoghurt, cheese, vegetable/bread sticks and natural dip.
- If your children chew chewing gum, make sure it’s sugarless – Chewing sugarless gum after eating has been shown to
increase saliva flow, help wash out food and decay-producing acid.
- Monitor beverage consumption – Children should really only be having plain tap water and unsweetened/unflavoured milk. Limit squash, fizzy soda and other sugar rich drinks to occasional consumption only. Babies and young children should never have any sugary drinks in a bottle.
- Help your children develop good brushing habits and technique.
- Schedule regular visits to see us at St James Dental so we can keep an eye on your child’s dental health and development, the best way to treat dental problems is to PREVENT them!