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Sugar and a Child’s Dental Health

Sugar and a Child’s Dental Health - Centennial Smiles - Dentists and Hygienists Calgary

It’s a sweet topic – sugar and how it impacts a child’s dental health. Should a child’s diet be completely sugar-free or is it ok to include some ‘natural sugars’ in a typical day’s menu? Is it the quantity of sugar a child is exposed to or the frequency that they are consuming sugar that causes decay and gum inflammation? Everyone loves a little sugar in their life, but when it comes to protecting young children’s teeth, how much is too much and how often is too often?

Is it Amount or Frequency of Sugar That Hurts Teeth?

The quick answer is ‘both’.  Children who consume large amounts of sugar over an extended period of time are at great risk of developing dental decay.  It’s not just one factor that puts a child at risk for dental decay and premature tooth loss; it’s both quantity and frequency of sugary drinks and foods that causes a child’s mouth to become highly acidic and prone to develop rampant caries.  In the mouth, the bacteria living on teeth (plaque) rapidly convert sugar into acid – and it’s the acid that erodes and weakens dental enamel leading to dental decay.  When there is a constant intake of sugar the acid production increases and formation of decay can happen at an alarming rate.  Monitoring and reducing a child’s sugar intake, whether ‘natural sugar’ or processed is vital to a child’s oral health.

How Important is Brushing of Teeth?

When teeth are free from dental plaque, the amount of acid production is reduced dramatically. By reducing the number of bacteria, you can lower the risk of erosion on enamel and prevent soft spots in enamel from further developing into a full blown cavity. Brushing removes bacteria and protects teeth from acid attacks. Young children under the age of seven will need help brushing their teeth as they often lack the dexterity and attention span to brush effectively.

Does Brushing Replace Regular Cleanings?

Just like a healthy body depends on clean living and routine medical exams to monitor physical wellbeing, a healthy mouth depends on good homecare that is partnered with regular visits to the dentist for exams and cleanings. Even a child’s mouth benefits from having a professional cleaning as special instruments are used to access hard to reach places and can remove even the toughest buildup of plaque. But it’s not just the quality of cleaning that helps keep a child’s teeth clean; it’s also the mentoring and assistance they receive during an appointment that helps them do a better job of brushing their own teeth. Assistance and encouragement goes a long way in keeping a child’s mouth healthy.

Is your child in need of a dental cleaning? Are you finding it hard to clean your child’s teeth?  Let the dentists and hygienists at Centennial Smiles Dental help – call us today at 587.353.5060