Anyone who has had any kind of general dentistry knows that certain food, like candy, is bad for your teeth and for the teeth of your family. Kids dentists have done a great job in recent years of raising awareness about how what goes in bottles and what kids eat has a powerful effect on their dental health, as well as how their dental health affects their overall health throughout life. But preventative care in general dentistry is more than just regular cleanings and avoiding candy. There are some unexpected things that can be just as damaging to your children’s teeth as gooey candies and lots of sugar.
Many people feed their children fruit juice under the mistaken impression that this is healthy. In reality, while fruit is “natural” in a way that sugar and soda is not, fruit juice has just as much sugar as soda and is just as damaging both to your child’s metabolism and your child’s teeth. In fact, fruit juice is more to blame for the average child’s tooth decay these days than any candy or sweet.
Many types of cough syrup contain sugars and citric acids to improve the flavor. These erode enamel and destroy teeth. This is not so much of an issue for adults, but the layer of enamel on a child’s tooth is thinner than those on adult teeth, making children more vulnerable to tooth decay even from something used as infrequently as cough syrup. When cough syrup is necessary, serve it with a meal or have your child rinse their mouth out with water after taking it.
This doesn’t refer to brushing in the wrong way but to brushing at the wrong time. Any time you or your child have eaten or drunk anything with a high acid content, such as citrus fruits, sodas, coffee, or even tomatoes, the acids in these foods and drinks can react with the toothpaste to make erosion even worse. It’s a good idea to rinse the mouth with water after eating any of these foods, but it’s also important to wait an hour before brushing with toothpaste.
The professionals at your general dentistry office will tell you that almost nothing is worse for your child’s teeth than lemonade. It’s a killer combo of sugars and acids that eats away at the enamel and simultaneously invites in and feeds the bacteria that causes cavities. Lemons are among the most acidic foods we eat, so combining that level of acid with enormous amounts of sugar is hugely destructive to dental health.
Neglect of General Dentistry
Many parents mistakenly believe that if their children still have their baby teeth there is no need to worry too much about dental checkups. Nothing could be further from the truth, and dentists say that the state of a child’s mouth at the age of five is an accurate predictor of their lifelong oral health. This is because habits learned in childhood persist and because the information the child gets or does not get from regular dental visits will affect them later in life.
It’s not enough to avoid sugar. To protect your children’s teeth, don’t give them too much fruit juice or lemonade, make sure they brush properly, and never neglect visits to general dentistry. Do this and you’ll set your children up for a lifetime of excellent oral health.