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What Sugar Does to a Child’s Teeth

Children would be ecstatic if they could eat sugar during every meal, but once cavities take over they won’t be smiling.

Kids can be picky eaters and many love pop, candy, cookies, and ice cream, however, it’s crucial for healthy eating habits to be established at a young age, not only for their general health but also for their oral health. Many parents aren’t aware of the detrimental effects excessive sugar consumption can have on their child’s teeth. Parents may assume that since their child’s teeth will fall out eventually, they aren’t very important. You may think that feeding your child candy is harmless, but enabling these poor habits early on can lead to lifelong consequences. Also, some baby molars don’t fall out until the teenage years and failing to take good care of them before adult teeth erupt could prevent tooth decay. Implementing good oral care habits during childhood will encourage them to continue good dental care for years to come. Continue reading to learn how sugar affects your child’s teeth and how to implement healthier habits.

The Cause of Cavities in Baby Teeth

When your child eats a sugary substance such as chocolate, existing bacteria in your mouth produce acid. The acid attacks and breaks down the tooth enamel. It only takes 20 seconds for bacteria to combine with sugar and form acid. Also, pH level changes in the mouth contribute to cavity formation. If the pH levels in the mouth drop, cavities can form as the mouth becomes more acidic. Reductions in pH levels occur whenever you consume something acidic the bacteria in the mouth converts the sugar into acidic. Your saliva requires 20 minutes to neutralize the drop in pH level. This means every sip of pop restarts the clock and the mouth is forming cavities for 20 minutes.

How to Prevent Cavities

Limit sugar consumption

In today’s world, sugar is found in almost everything. While you can’t avoid it completely, you should limit your child’s exposure to sugar. This means reducing how often your child drinks from a bottle or sippy cup within a day. If your child is drinking from a sippy cup between meals, they should only be drinking water. Beverages such as juice and even milk are high in sugar and expose your child’s teeth to too much sugar.

Clean their teeth and gums

Starting from your child’s birth to 1 year later, you should gently wipe their gums with a baby washcloth to keep them clean. After their first tooth erupts, use a soft baby toothbrush to brush gently.

You can begin brushing your child’s teeth twice a day for 2 minutes once when they are between 12 and 36 months.

Don’t give them a bottle in bed

You should never put your child to sleep with a bottle as this exposes their teeth to sugar and is also hazardous.

A bottle or sippy cup is not a pacifier.

Your child should not use their bottle or sippy cup as a pacifier; they also shouldn’t walk with a bottle or sippy cup in their hands unless its water.

Check your water

Water fluoridation can protect your child’s teeth from decay. If your tap does not have enough fluoride, speak with your dentist in Port Moody. They can prescribe a fluoride supplement or apply a fluoride varnish.

Cavity Treatment

A filling is the most common treatment method for moderate to severe cavities. During a filling, a hole is drilled into the affected tooth, and decayed tissues inside the cavity are removed. The drilled space is then filled to restore the strength and structure of the tooth.

Not only do healthy eating habits prevent cavities, but they lead to better general health and well-being. Be sure to schedule your child’s check-up every six months at your dental clinic in Port Moody.