Myth: Your Child Has Cavities Because of Sugar

Posted on October 28, 2020 | Hot Topics

Myth: Your Child Has Cavities Because of Sugar

Let’s address the elephant in the room: yes, excessive sugar in a diet will cause tooth decay. This has been a known fact for many years now, but there are other factors that can contribute to tooth decay and deterioration. So, what are these other factors, and what does a diet that’s healthy for your child’s gut and for his teeth look like?

Other surprising factors that lead to progression in tooth decay

  1. One major reason tooth decay may progress is irregular dental visits. Oftentimes, your dentist will be able to detect small cavities early, and help prevent these cavities from progressing into larger problems. There are more and more non-invasive treatment options for small cavities, but these cavities must be identified early! Regular trips to the dentist are important for many reasons, especially the early detection of cavities.
  2. If your child isn’t in the regular routine of brushing and flossing, this can cause major problems. Even if your child avoids sugary foods and drinks, if he isn’t practicing healthy oral hygiene habits, then plaque will build up. 
  3. Dry mouth can actually contribute to tooth decay. This issue isn’t as widely known as the others, but there are some medications that can cause dry mouth in children. Saliva is actually a helpful agent in washing away acid and bacteria from the oral cavity. If the mouth is dry, then acid and bacteria have more of an opportunity to begin the cavity process.

The “good list”

  1. Fiber-rich foods are great for your child’s teeth and his overall health. Natural fiber can be found in many fruits and veggies. An awesome perk to fiber-rich foods is that they help get saliva flowing. Remember-even frequent snacking on starchy foods will likely lead to decay, because the crackers/pretzels/chips will break down into sugar!!
  2. It can be hard to avoid sugary substances entirely, so when you do allow your child to indulge, make sure to have him eat his sweet treat near meal time. We can’t emphasize this enough, saliva really is here to help. During meal time, our body knows to produce extra saliva, and this can help break down the sugar from a sweet treat.
  3. Water is essential. There are few things water isn’t good for! Aim to have your child drink more water than any other drink option. Sugar can sneak into almost all of the water alternatives: sports drinks and fruit juices and even milk!

No parent is going to get it right all of the time. We all have great intentions, and sometimes life can make the follow-through difficult. Just do your best to keep your child’s teeth healthy, and teach them the importance of maintaining healthy oral habits!

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