What we eat and drink has an impact on our oral health. Diets high in sugar and acid can severely affect children’s dental health – especially since children are constantly enticed by foods full of sugar, artificial ingredients, and acidic preservatives. Whether it is commercials advertising unhealthy foods or the plethora of harmful choices available at schools and other public places, maintaining good nutritional habits can be cumbersome for parents and caregivers – especially since many harmful ingredients are listed on packaging by less common names. Our pediatric dentistry practice and our kid’s dentist are committed to helping our community achieve vibrant oral health by providing comprehensive care and oral health education.
Sugar is dangerous to oral health because it is a source of fuel for bacteria. When sugar is consumed – by either food or drink – bacteria go on a feeding frenzy. When bacteria feed, they colonize, which ultimately leads to plaque formation and as a result of this process, they produce acid as a by-product. Any kind of acid, even acid produced by bacteria, softens tooth enamel by stripping away its mineral content. Alone, sugar and acid are quite dangerous to the health of teeth and when they are combined, they can lead to permanent tooth damage and dental caries.
Weakened tooth enamel leaves teeth unprotected against the cavity-causing bacteria in the mouth. Children’s oral health and well-being is greatly compromised by tooth decay. Cavities can cause daily discomfort that can affect performance in school, speech development, and overall health. Untreated tooth decay not only damages teeth, it can progress into a chronic infection like an abscess.
Since sugary and acidic food is commonplace in modern diets, we encourage to be vigilant when reading the ingredients on food and beverage packages. For instance, ingredients like alcohol-based sugars or forms of fructose feed bacteria the same way that sugarcane does. Additionally, common flavor enhancers and preservatives like ascorbic or citric acid can weaken teeth. Beyond reducing sugar and acid intake, parents should encourage the consumption of clear water to help rinse the mouth and maintain a healthy pH. Children should also receive routine pediatric dentistry care.
Contact Fort Worth Children’s Dentistry to schedule a checkup or cleaning with our kid’s dental team.