We’ve talked about the perils of sugar on your child’s health. But what if it isn’t all bad? In this day and age, after all, sugary treats have become part of the norm. It’s hard not to come across them. But are sweets always bad for teeth?
Not necessarily. While candies and treats can expose you more to tooth decay, they don’t have to. As long as you place the right precautions, your child can have their sweet fix without having to worry about cavities.
Are sweets always bad for teeth? Not if you do the following:
Choose the type of sweets you consume
Fortunately, not all sweets harm your teeth the same way. Some treats can do a number on your little one’s teeth if you’re not careful. But there are others that you can safely enjoy on a reasonable basis. These treats typically share the following attributes:
- Washes off the teeth quickly. When sugars or sugary substances stay on your teeth for too long, it’s a free-for-all for your oral bacteria. They convert these sugars into acid, which over time can erode the tooth enamel. Sweets that wash off quickly, such as chocolate, are then a better alternative to other types of candies.
- Triggers saliva flow. We’ve previously delved into the importance of saliva in keeping one’s oral health. And fortunately, saliva-friendly treats aren’t a thing of myth. Chewing gum is one good example of this. Because chewing triggers saliva production, the more you chew on the gum, the more saliva you produce. The saliva, in turn, helps wash away any stray sugars you might have accumulated.
- Contains less sugar. If you eat less sugar, oral bacteria have less fuel to attack you. Treats like dark chocolate and sugar-free gum, then, hit two birds with one stone. Aside from containing less sugar, their saliva-friendly properties wash away what little sugar they have, making them less susceptible to sticking around your teeth.
- Contains ingredients that help the teeth. Some gums contain xylitol, a sugar substitute that is said to prevent tooth decay. For one, xylitol blocks the oral bacteria’s ability to ingest glucose, starving them. For another, xylitol can help with calcium absorption, strengthening the teeth. If your child craves something sweet, then, consider treats with xylitol or other tooth-friendly ingredients.
Sweets that tend to damage the teeth also share features, such as:
- Sticks to the teeth. As mentioned before, when sugars stick to teeth, it’s usually a field day for harmful oral bacteria. Similarly, eating sweet, sticky candies like toffee increase your child’s likelihood of tooth decay.
- Can break the teeth. While our teeth are quite strong, there’s only so much they can handle before they yield to pressure. If your kid tends to eat sweets like jawbreakers or hard candies, then, you might want to limit their consumption as it can hurt their teeth.
- Are acidic. Acid attacks are what usually cause enamel erosion and tooth decay. If your child has too much sour candy, this could up their chances of contracting these problems.
Maintain proper oral hygiene
Aside from their choice of candy, you’ll also need to make sure that your child still keeps to their oral hygiene practice. Even if they eat the right kind of candy, without proper dental care, they could contract a slew of oral problems. Having them brush their teeth right after they eat their sweets is a particularly important step.
You might also need to monitor how often they binge on their sweets, as eating candy regularly might be too much to handle for their hygiene habits. After all, prevention is always the best cure—particularly when it comes to your child’s teeth.