How Sugar Affects Your Child’s Teeth

If your child is like any other, one of their favorite ingredients in food must be sugar. After all, no child dislikes sweet delicacies like ice cream, chewy candies, cookies, and pies. However, you may not know that sugar is hidden in things like ketchup, granola bars, spaghetti sauce, and even canned soup. If you pay attention to the ingredient list, you will find out. 

According to the American Heart Association, children between the ages of two and 18 should not consume more than 25 grams of sugar. Anything more than this can harm their oral as well as overall health. If you have a child, you should be educated about how sugar affects your child’s teeth and how to avoid damage. Visit a dentist in Omaha to determine your child’s oral health status. 

Sugar vs. teeth 

Allowing your child to consume as much sugar as they want, thinking their teeth are permanent and that they will grow new ones, can be harmful. Sugar consumption can lead to tooth decay, but most people do not know how that happens. The sugar may not affect the eater while you eat it, but what happens in your mouth afterward can be damaging. 

Bacteria are already present inside your child’s mouth. When they consume sugar and do not clean their teeth and gums thoroughly afterward, the existing bacteria use the sugar to stick to the surface of the teeth. The bacteria feeds on sugar. The more it feeds on it, the more it increases in size and number, forming plaque and tartar. 

This gives production to a form of acid, which destroys the enamel. The enamel is the outer protective layer of your teeth. Once destroyed, you cannot grow back your enamel. Cavities develop when your tooth enamel has been destroyed completely by bacteria. If not treated timely, you could lose your entire tooth. 

Sugar in disguise 

Now that you know how sugar affects your children’s teeth, you may keep them away from candies and chocolates. However, it is not easy to escape sugar in today’s time. Sugar is present in several packaged food items, such as: 

  • Honey
  • Fruit juice concentrate
  • Agave nectar
  • Evaporated can juice
  • 100% fruit juice
  • Any other kind of syrup
  • Rice syrup
  • High fructose corn syrup
  • The suffix “-ose” (fructose, glucose-sucrose, maltose, dextrose, lactose)

Healthier alternatives

When your child is a sugar fan, getting them to love other healthier snacks can be difficult. Fortunately, there are various options in that category as well. 

  • Pretzels
  • Sweet potato chips
  • Pepper nachos
  • String cheese
  • Celery and cream cheese
  • Guacamole and pita wedges
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Zucchini chips
  • Parmesan fries
  • Popcorn