If you happen to be one of those who love sugary food items more than anything else, food items like cookies, pies, and ice cream form an important part of your food habit- then this article is for you! Did you know that there is sugar hidden in unsuspected food items like ketchup, fruit-flavored yogurt, spaghetti sauce, granola bars, and canned soup? It is easy for parents to restrict the sugar intake of their children when it comes to desserts, candies, and cakes, but when the sugar is disguised and hidden in seemingly healthy or harmless food, planning snacks and meals can seem to become slightly more complicated and overwhelming.
Kids usually tend to prefer both sweeter and saltier tastes as compared to adults and don’t have to learn to like sugar, because it’s actually a preference that’s biologically ingrained. Studies and research works conducted in recent times have proven that the body of a child might prompt more sugar cravings during their growth years, and their desire for sugar or sugary food items skyrocket during growth spurts when they need more energy and calories.
The American Heart Association states that children between 2 to 18 years old should not consume sugar more than 25 grams, of every day. Consuming sugar or sugary food items more than the stipulated amount can have a negative impact on the oral and overall health of your child.
In this article, we will try to narrate and articulate the impact of sugar on your child’s teeth and oral health, how to look for hidden sugar in food items and snackable, and present you with healthier alternatives to sugary food items.
If you have happened to notice that your child has developed dental cavities, or has developed more cavities than you think are appropriate, or his gums are red and swollen, get in touch with your child’s dental health expert or dentist, as soon as possible to schedule a regular thorough dental cleaning and examination.
Sugar vs. Teeth
There are at least billions of bacteria in our mouths. Proper oral hygiene habits, a healthy diet, and regular dental cleanings can keep the bad bacteria at bay and prevent them from overpowering the healthy bacteria.
When a person, young or old, consumes sugar, the harmful bacteria present in your mouth break the sugar to turn it into acid, which in turn leads to the softening of the enamel, eventually eating it away. As the harmful enamel bacteria spreads, outnumbers, and overpowers the healthy pH in your saliva, the mouth becomes more prone and susceptible to periodontal or gum diseases and cavities.
Sugar vs. Body
Besides causing oral health issues, consumption of way too much sugar can also be directly associated with childhood obesity and malnutrition. Consumption of sugar in unhealthy amounts can also lead to diabetes, a weakened immune system, and sluggish behaviors or lack of energy. Sugar can also be held responsible for brain fog, which can make focusing in school more difficult for children.
Sugar in Disguise
Remember that line from Romeo and Juliet? “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. “
This statement to universal in nature that it can also be applied to the domain of food items, especially sugar. It doesn’t matter what we call it, sugar will always have the same effect.
If you wish to look for the hidden sugar content in your food, look out for the names of the food labels, given below:
- High fructose corn syrup
- Rice syrup
- Any other kind of syrup
- Agave nectar
- Fruit juice concentrate
- Evaporated can juice
- 100% fruit juice
- The suffix “-ose” (fructose, sucrose, dextrose, lactose, maltose, glucose)
Another way to watch out for hidden sugars is by checking the “added sugar” line on the food label.
Embarking on a new food journey can sometimes be confusing, let alone overwhelming. Allow us to help you lessen your stress and suggest doable suggestions to bring down the sugar intake of your child strategically. We have drafted a list of delicious, healthy, and low-sugar snacks that you can give to your child-
- Celery and cream cheese
- String cheese
- Guacamole and pita wedges
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Zucchini chips
- Parmesan fries
- Sweet potato chips
- Pepper nachos
- Besides these, there are other ways to restrict the sugar intake of your child. That includes:
- Limiting juice and soft drinks – choose water over every other drink and beverage!
- Keeping candy out of the home
- Only making desserts on special occasions
Protecting Your Child’s Smile
Practicing good oral hygiene and dental care regimen is important for everyone. However, for children who tend to intake sugar in larger quantities from their food items and drinks, cleaning their teeth thoroughly and effectively becomes even more significant and crucial.
If you are suspicious that your little one might be at risk of developing dental cavities because of the amount of sugar they are consuming, here are some suggestions to help protect their precious pearls and keep their smile from dental cavities and decay with or without cutting down on their sugary treats.
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), fluoride is a natural mineral that not only prevents tooth decay but can also reverse it in its initial days. it’s usually added to community water tanks or systems, as well as most kinds of toothpaste, so you have to ensure that your child is drinking plenty of fluoridated water and brushing their teeth at least twice regularly with fluoridated toothpaste. Dentists also recommend and provide professional fluoride treatments. Routine fluoride use has significantly brought down the number of children affected by dental decay.
The most effective way to get rid of plaque from the teeth is by brushing regularly and effectively. Using the necessary amount of fluoridated toothpaste for their age, teach your child how to brush for the best results – brushing back and forth along the front, back, and top of the teeth, for at least two minutes, at least twice a day. The same bacteria that stick to the teeth also attaches itself to the surface of the tongue, so don’t forget to have your little one clean their tongue, too, to clean the bacteria that can lead to bad breath and other dental health and hygiene issues.
Plaque doesn’t discriminate – not only does it wage wars on the visible surfaces of the teeth; but it also gets collected in between them. By showing your child floss daily, you’ll be enabling him and teaching them to break up all that plaque and get rid of it before it can lead to dental cavities and even eventual gum or periodontal diseases.
Drink More Water
Water is the best thing your child can possibly drink! Not only does it keep them hydrated, but it’s good for their body and also works wonders for their dental health. Since almost all kinds of tap water contain fluoride, ensuring that your child drinks water after consuming sugary or acidic foods helps dilute and rinse away any cavity-producing bacteria in between brushings. Water is also functional in producing saliva in abundance, which acts as a natural defense mechanism against plaque acids.
Visit a Children’s Dental Health Expert
One of the best ways to fight tooth decay is to visit a dental health expert at regular intervals.Your child’s first dental appointment should be scheduled as soon as the first tooth sprouts out. He or she should visit the dental health expert for regular thorough cleaning and examination sessions, once every six months or twice a year.