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Why Sugar Hurts Children’s Teeth

One of the most famous cautions from a dentist you will hear is to avoid eating candy and sugary treats to keep your smile healthy. But you might wonder what is so bad about sugar when it comes to oral health.

This warning from your dentist is true, however. And kids with a sweet tooth might prove especially vulnerable to severe and irreversible dental damage from consuming too much sugar.

Understanding the dental dangers stemming from added sugar can help you teach your child healthy oral habits in conjunction with their diet. So read on to learn how sugar can harm your child’s oral health as well as how to reduce sugar intake and protect their smile.

Why Sugar Hurts Children's Teeth

Dental Risks from Added Sugar

Dentists instruct patients of any age to avoid consuming sugar when possible because it can seriously hurt their teeth. Sugar becomes acidic when it reacts with saliva. And the resulting acid will erode the enamel, the outer layer of the teeth.

Weakened enamel means the vulnerable interior of the teeth becomes exposed. The patient can feel tooth sensitivity and notice discoloration in their smiles as a result. And they can have a higher risk of cavities and other dental problems too.

A dentist can treat a cavity by removing the decayed part of the enamel. Then they restore the tooth’s structure with a dental filling. But ideally, the patient should preserve as much of their natural dental structure as they can by preventing cavities.

You may wonder if enamel erosion and decay in baby teeth will matter since these primary teeth will fall out eventually anyway. However, damaged baby teeth may mean that the adult permanent teeth do not grow into place properly. Or they might garner irreversible dental damage as well.

Therefore, preventative care for your child’s smile should begin promptly. And their diet can influence their oral health in the long term.

How to Avoid Excess Sugar

Good preventative dental care like oral hygiene and professional teeth cleanings and exams will help to keep your child’s smile healthy. These practices will keep the teeth strong enough to resist tooth decay and other dental problems. But it will not make them invincible.

But you can further protect their oral health by ensuring their diet does not harm their smiles. This will mean limiting or avoiding added sugar.

Check the ingredients in the groceries you purchase to ensure you do not buy products that feature high sugar content. Paying attention to the diet of you and your child in this way will help you avoid oral health concerns as well as other medical risks associated with consuming excess sugar.

You can also adjust your recipes, especially in baked goods, to limit the amount of sugar your meals contain. In many cases, you can remove between a third or a half of a recipe’s recommended sugar without affecting your dish’s taste. Consider substituting sugar for other flavors like cinnamon or nutmeg.