Are there safe foods for teeth? - ABC Dentistry
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Are there safe foods for teeth?

Diet is probably the major cause of tooth decay in children that I see in our practice. The thing to consider is how many times your child puts something in their mouth that is sweet or acidic. Yes, the frequency of exposure of the mouth to these things increases your childs risk of tooth decay. It is the number of mouthfuls not the total amount of sugar that is important. Consider sipping on a bottle full of juice over several hours compared with drinking the juice from a cup in one sitting. By limiting the intake of sweet or acidic drinks you are helping reduce the risk of tooth decay.

Before addressing safe foods for the teeth it is probably easier to show the food and drink that is worst for the teeth. Drinks probably account for the most tooth decay in our practice. Juice, cordial, sports drinks, flavoured waters and soft drinks are all equally damaging to your childs teeth. That is due to their high sugar and/or high acid content. Worse still they are often placed into convenience packaging encouraging “sipping or drinking” behaviours that then contribute to the risk of tooth decay.

Don’t be fooled by the words “natural” on products, that is used to simply sell the product and is no way a recommendation for health. Be aware of what you are feeding your children and try and limit the total amounts of sugars, including natural sugars. Different types of sugars that could be in foods include sucrose, dextrose, glucose, fructose, lactose and even honey. Limiting the frequency of these sugar containing foods and drinks will help to control your child’s risk of tooth decay. Fruit juice is not good for teeth or for your child. Fruit juice contains no fiber yet it is concentrated in sugars and calories and tends to fill children up without any nutritional benefits. Half a cup of juice can contain 23g of sugar.

By carefully checking the labeling at the supermarket you can avoid foods that are high in sugars. Look for plain crackers and give things like cheese and fresh vegetables as snacks between meals. Cheese at the end of snack time can help to neutralize the acids that naturally form in the mouth, helping to reduce the amount of damage that the acids can do to the teeth.

Make sure that water is the only convenience drink available to the child- do not put cordial, juice or any other substances in bottles or sippy cups. When giving juice make sure that it is diluted and only a very small amount in the cup. Ensure that it is taken with a meal as that will then be considered as part of the meal and one attack on the teeth (as compared with several sips over many hours).

Understand that you are teaching your child good habits to last their lifetime. Our bodies are made of water and therefore that should be our drink of choice. Teach your children what “treats” are and limit their intake accordingly.

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