Denying children the enjoyment of sweets, especially around the holidays, often troubles parents who feel they are depriving their children of normal childhood experiences. Pediatric dentists understand this dilemma and can discuss individualized ways to protect children’s teeth from candy and other treats. Although the best way to keep treats from wreaking havoc is avoidance, in reality sugar is prominent in everyday life and total avoidance is far from practical.
Helping children brush and floss until at least the age of 7 is recommended by pediatric dentists and the dental community. The better the daily brushing and flossing habits, the stronger and healthier the teeth will be. When teeth are strong and the mouth is healthy, exposure to a little sugar is less of a problem. Children that are prone to cavities have to be more diligent with their oral hygiene habits to prevent further damage. Many dentists recommend sealing teeth as the permanent teeth grow in.
When it comes to candy and treats, the chewy, sticky, and gummy candies are considered the worst for teeth. These candies are typically high in acid and sugar, weakening enamel with continued contact and promoting the growth of bacteria and ultimately cavities. If possible, it is best to limit sweets to chocolate-based sweets and keep the consumption to a minimum. After Halloween, for example, some parents take control of the candy collected from Trick-or-Treating and children are permitted two pieces daily.
Encourage children to enjoy their candy with plain low-fat milk or water. Milk is a good source of calcium, which promotes healthy teeth and bones, and water helps wash residual sugar and candy particles from the mouth after enjoying the sweets. Establish a habit of brushing teeth and flossing shortly after enjoying the candy. The toothpaste taste left in the mouth will discourage wanting more candy to follow, and the habit will help keep teeth cleaner and healthier.
For more information on protecting children’s teeth, contact Richardson Dentistry today!