Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Sipping, Snacking and Tooth Decay

Many parents across the country will issue a common refrain at dinnertime tonight: ―You’d better eat that-it’s good for you!  There’s another old favorite in the parental arsenal of dietary admonitions: 
―Don’t eat that-it’ll rot your teeth!  Now more than ever, kids 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 may affect not only their general health but also their oral health. 

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. 

Reduce your children’s risk of tooth decay: 
- Sugary foods and drinks should be consumed with meals.  Saliva production increases during meals and helps neutralize acid production and rinse food particles from the mouth. 

- Limit between-meal snacks.  If kids crave a snack, offer them nutritious foods.

- If your kids chew gum, make it sugarless – Chewing sugarless gum after eating can increase saliva flow and help wash out food and decay-producing acid. 

- Monitor beverage consumption – Instead of soft drinks all day, children should also choose water and low-fat milk. 

- Help your children develop good brushing and flossing habits.  

- Schedule regular dental visits. 

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