Did you know that Americans spend billions of dollars every year on candy? Sugar is a major culprit in causing cavities in children. The sugar in sticky candies and other treats can stay in contact with your child’s teeth for even longer. Let’s talk about sticky summer treats and your child’s teeth and what you need to know to help keep their teeth healthy.
How Does Sugar Cause Cavities?
You may have wondered why people say that sugar is bad for your teeth? Sugar alone isn’t harmful to teeth, but when it combines with the naturally occurring bacteria in your mouth and saliva, it turns acidic. The acid can then damage your tooth enamel, leading to tooth decay and cavities. The longer sugar is in contact with your child’s teeth, the more damage it can cause.
Best and Worst Treats for Your Child’s Teeth
Sticky summer treats and your child’s teeth can be a negative combination because the sticky candy can linger, leaving sugar in contact with their enamel for a long period of time. Treats and chewy candies like taffy, caramels, gummies and candy-covered popcorn can leave a residue on your child’s teeth, allowing the sugar more time to interact with the bacteria and turn acidic.
Instead of sticky candies, it may be helpful to choose or assist your child in selecting candies that dissolve more easily and quickly to reduce the amount of time that the sugar can affect their teeth. For summertime snacks, it can also be beneficial to keep fruit and other healthy snacks prepped and ready for your child to grab and go. This will encourage them to make healthier snack choices. Many times what we snack on comes down to convenience, and it’s often no different for our children!
Talk with Your Child About Their Teeth
Summertime can throw off our routines, when the kids are out of school and off to day camps, friends houses and doing other activities. It may not always be possible to select what your child snacks on. That’s why it’s important to teach your child about good oral hygiene from an early age.
If your child does happen to eat sticky candy, encourage them to drink a glass of water afterwards to help wash away some of the sugary residue. Explain in a way that’s easy for them to understand why they should brush their teeth as soon as possible after each meal as well as after eating candy or other sugary snacks.
Summertime Dental Care
The flexibility of summer schedules makes it a great time to schedule an appointment with your child’s dentist to ensure that their teeth are receiving the care that they need to develop into a healthy, bright and strong smile. You can even use it as an opportunity to ask their dentist to talk about sticky summer treats and your child’s teeth to help them understand in an age appropriate way the importance of making healthy snack choices and taking good care of their smile.
Call our Gilbert, Mesa or San Tan Valley dental offices to make an appointment with a dentist who may be able to help you find out more about this topic, and improve your oral health.