TWO OUT OF EVERY FIVE kids will end up with one or more cavities by their eleventh birthday. At those numbers, cavities are the most common childhood disease. What can parents do to fight these odds? And how can we protect our own teeth as adults? As your South San Francisco dentist we’re here to help by identifying the biggest childhood cavity culprits and one that you may not know about.
Sugary Snacks Are Cavity-Causers
Treats and snacks loaded with sugar are a big one, especially when kids are munching on them throughout the day. It takes saliva about thirty minutes to wash away food residue and neutralize acids produced by oral bacteria. When kids are in a continuous state of snacking, their saliva can’t do its job, leaving their teeth to be constantly bathed by acid, which erodes enamel and leads to decay. We recommend keeping the sugary treats to mealtimes and offering sliced fruits and veggies if they still want snacks between meals.
…And So Are Sugary Drinks!
Another big culprit is sugary drinks. We aren’t just talking about soda; fruit juice is a major cavity-causer too! You may think that giving your kid fruit juice is a healthy choice, but despite the vitamins in them they are also filled with sugar. They also contain harmful acids that can erode enamel and cause tooth decay. Whole fruits contain plenty of fiber that buffer the harmful effects of sugar and acids when eaten, but when turned into a juice your left with a cavity-causing drink. When kids are able to sip fruit juice all day from a sippy cup or as they fall asleep, it produces the same result as continuous snacking. This is so damaging to teeth that we refer to it as “bottle rot.”
Try to limit the amount of sugary drinks your child consumes, and keep them to mealtimes! For a more refreshing and tooth-friendly drink, try coconut water, water flavored with mint or cucumber, or just plain water in their favorite colorful cup to make it more enticing.
Remember these tips aren't just great for kids, but also for us parents and adults. By switching sugar-laden treats and drinks for healthier alternatives, you too can avoid cavities and a visit to the dentist! And that's something we can all appreciate at any age!
If it's been more than 6 months since your last check-up and cleaning, book your next appointment today! It's easy! Book your appointment online or give us a call or text at (650) 871-1400 today!