Family and Cosmetic Dentist - Livonia
31574 Schoolcraft Road
Livonia, MI 48150
If you're reading this article before the children's eagerly anticipated ritual of Halloween, or after the windfall of candy has already descended into your household, you'll want to know how best to minimize the damage that candy can have on your little ghosts' and goblins' teeth. Here are some tips to help put the bite on cavities.
It's important to remember that sticky treats such as toffee, caramels and jujubes are the worst for teeth as the remnants from these soft candies stick to teeth and are difficult to remove. Interestingly, it's not actually the amount of sugar in candy that can cause decay, but the amount of time that the candy stays in the mouth, which is why hard candies like suckers that take a long time to eat are also a poor choice.
Candy that is present in the mouth for an extended time offers a sustained food source for bacteria, which feeds off the sugars in the candy to form an acid that then attacks the tooth enamel to initiate the decay process. Popping a solid chocolate bar in your mouth is a better choice than munching on one filled with a gooey center, as the candy filling may stick to the teeth and provide a longer-lasting food source for the natural bacteria to feed from in the mouth.
Try to limit any big candy bonanzas to meals so that sugar consumption isn't spread out over the full course of a day. After the children have had their limit, it's crucial that they immediately floss and brush thoroughly, especially before they go to bed.
If you're currently congratulating yourself for surviving the nutritional nightmare of this year's Halloween, remember that the holiday season is coming up, and all the same rules apply to sweet treats then as well.
With the kids now settled back into their school year routines, you're probably back to the practice of making daily lunches. But, while they may leave home with their healthy homemade lunches and snacks, you should also be aware of the temptations that await them in the soft drink, sport drink and snack vending machines available in many schools.
The Academy of General Dentistry states that soft drink purchases by teens in schools has increased by 1,100 percent over the past 20 years, while dairy purchases have decreased by 30 percent!
Multiplying the approximately 10 teaspoons of sugar contained in a typical 12-ounce can of regular soda by the equivalent of 868 cans of soda consumed by the average male in the 12- to 19-year age group makes for a frightening total. Not only is sugar harmful to the teeth, but acidic flavor additives can also erode and damage tooth enamel.
Sport drinks are also an issue for kids to drink in large amounts. While coaches and parents may be loading kids up with sports drinks to keep them hydrated, they are also loading them up with sugar and potential cavities. Try to keep the sport drinks limited and substitute water for the rest.
Save soft drinks and candy for special treats if you can, and make sure your child knows, that if he or she does have a sugary drink or snack during the day, to rinse out their mouth with water immediately after consuming the treat. If they can't do that right away, keep a supply of sugar-free gum with xylitol in their lunch bag to help cleanse their mouth.
It's important for all family members to maintain a regular schedule of dental visits. Please call us for more information on how we may help you maintain your, and your family's, dental health.
While you are certainly aware that sugar is one of the main causes of dental decay, what you may not realize is how it can lurk in the most unsuspecting places. For example, there are sugars that appear naturally in many foods - even milk! It is for this reason that we recommend that parents don't put their babies to sleep with a bottle of milk. As milk pools in a child's mouth, the sugars mix with bacteria in the mouth to make a mild acid, which can then attack the tooth enamel to produce cavities.
Make a habit of reading the labels on any packaged foods that you buy. Ingredients should be listed by weight, so if sugar is shown at the top of the list you know it is a major component in the product. Note that sugars also include corn syrup, molasses, dextrose, fructose, glucose, sucrose and honey.
Medicine isn't even immune to sneaky sugars. As Mary Poppins knew, "A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down." Read the ingredients of liquid cough syrup and other medications - sometimes your doctor can recommend sugar-free alternatives.
Sticky sweets like toffee or sweets like suckers that linger in your mouth compound the effects of sugar as they remain in your mouth longer than a quick chocolate bar. Excess sugar can wreak havoc not just on your teeth, but elsewhere in the body too, so the wise thing for both your dental health and your total health is to make a habit of reading the ingredients in any packaged foods before you buy them, be aware of low-sugar or sugar-free alternatives in your daily diet and choose healthy options.