Sugar Snack Facts:
- Frequent snacking on foods containing sugar increases a child’s risk of getting cavities.
- Each time your child eats sugar, plaque in the mouth combines with sugar to produce acid.
- This acid attacks the teeth and over time can destroy the tooth structure.
- Your child should eat a variety of foods including grains, milk and milk products, meat, vegetables, and fruits. Avoid establishing a “sweet tooth” by limiting foods high in sugar.
Tips for Good Snacking Habits:
- Cut down on high-sugar snacks. Offer your child snacks that are low in sugar, such as vegetables, cheese, or pretzels. These do not promote tooth decay.
- Cut down on the number of times per day that your child eats sugar in food and snacks. With frequent snacks, the acidity of the mouth stays high. This exposes the teeth to acid for extended periods. High frequency of sugary snacks increases the risk of developing cavities.
- Avoid soft, sticky sweets that lodge on and between tooth surfaces such as toffee, dried fruits, etc. Sticky foods are retained in the mouth longer and as a result, the acid that destroys the tooth is produced for a longer period of time. The consistency of the snacks increases the risk of getting cavities more than the amount eaten.
- Natural sugars (found in breast milk, fruit, milk, bananas) have the same effect on your child’s teeth as refined sugars (found in soda pop, ice-cream, cake). Healthy foods should obviously not be avoided and brushing after eating is important in the prevention of tooth decay.
- Don’t give your child sugar-rich foods that stay in the mouth and prolong the acid attack, such as gum, hard candies, lollipops, etc.
- If you do serve sweets, serve them with meals. Increased saliva flow during meals helps neutralize the effects of sugar on the teeth.
- Brushing and flossing after snacks and meals is important for preventing cavities that can form from exposure to sugar.