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Snacking, Juice Boxes and Baby Teeth

Little kids love to drink out of their sippy cup and chew on snacks. Even as adults, we tend to find that a snack helps break up the day and can take the edge off hunger. But even though snacking and juice can seem harmless, some companies even promote their product as very healthy, all that sugar and acidity can be very hard on children’s teeth. There are ways that you can monitor your child’s intake of sugar to protect their both their baby and adult teeth from cavities.

Limit the Amount of Juice They Drink

Drinking fruit juice and smoothies are supposed to be good for you and in a lot of ways, they are. But most children’s juice boxes are filled to the brim with artificial sugars and high concentrations of acidic fruits. Fruits like oranges, pineapple, lemon, lime, and tomatoes can cause enamel to break down faster so it is important to not allow children to constantly be sipping on these types of juices. The easiest way you can prevent tooth decay without cutting out juice completely is set times when they can drink it ( only at breakfast, not drinking it all day), water it down, and don’t let them drink it from a sippy cup. Sippy cups cause the sugar and acid to sit on the back of the teeth longer instead of a straw which allows the liquid to go to the back of the throat bypassing the teeth altogether.

Switch Out Carbs and Sugar for Whole Grain and Fruit

It is no secret that sometimes white bread can taste better than whole grain, and it might be easier to snack on cheesy crackers than celery. But snacks that are high in simple carbs can sit on your child’s teeth and turn into sugar that is harmful to enamel. Food like raisins, fruit snacks, and gummy bears are sticky and will stay on a child’s teeth all day, even after brushing. Regularly brushing and flossing kid’s teeth is an important way to counteract cavities, but watching what children eat will have the biggest impact overall. The texture of food, the sugar content of food and how often they are eating these foods are all aspects to consider when supplying your toddler with snacks. Swapping out crackers for whole grain foods and fruit snacks with real fruit will be healthier for their teeth and their growing body.

It can be tricky raising kids and balancing all of their needs. It might be easier to give a crying toddler a sugary snack at the moment, but paying extra attention to what your child is eating establishes a pattern of healthy eating early on and will allow them to be happier and healthier. Trying to incorporate all of the food groups on the food pyramid into your toddler’s diet will help you keep track of what you can give them. Special dietary restrictions should always be followed, so parents can adapt their child’s diet accordingly. If you are worried that your child might have a cavity, or you have more questions regarding food and its relation to teeth, feel free to call your local dentist and have a great Holiday season!