Most parents understand how important it is to teach their children good habits as they grow up. This is particularly the case when it comes to looking after their teeth, especially so when you consider the amount of sugar that is typically found in a youngster's diet. Yet you may not be aware of the full story. Did you know that sugar can attack the teeth twice and not just when it is consumed? What do you have to bear in mind when it comes to addressing this problem?
The Ever Present Problem
Many years of scientific research have told the Australian people that sugary content can attack the enamel on the surface of the teeth as soon as it enters the mouth. This type of sugar is of course found in a large number of drinks today, including colas, high-energy sport concoctions and also fruit juices. It's very difficult to control this erosion as it begins immediately in the process of swallowing the drink.
The Double Threat
However, did you know that when sugar is consumed in large quantities it leads to a different medical condition called acid reflux? This condition actually rejects some of the sugary acid as it enters the stomach and pushes it back up the esophagus into the mouth. When it does so, this will further erode the enamel.
Keeping Sugar in Check
What can parents do? Because the damage occurs very quickly after a sugary drink is consumed, it's better to keep such liquids to a bare minimum and control how much of it children can access. Some people think that it's okay to clean the teeth frequently, but in fact the acidity levels will probably have normalised by this time anyway and brushing is not likely to make that much of a difference. It would be better to eat whole fruit instead of packaged fruit juice, which typically has sugar added as well.
A Partial Fix
You can also consider processing any fruits in a blender (and possibly adding vegetables as well), and suggest that the child drinks the mixture through a straw. This will, in part, reduce the ability of the sugar to impact the enamel of the teeth directly.
Don't forget, that when acid erosion is allowed to take its course, the colour of the teeth will darken. This is because the protective layer (which is white) becomes thinner and allows the dentine beneath to show through.
Children's dentistry shouldn't be neglected, so schedule regular meetings with your dentist to make sure that your children's teeth are developing normally and ask them about the daily diet in your household for their specific advice.