Frequent snacking can increase your child’s cavity risk!
While it’s recommended that eating smaller, scheduled meals throughout the day can help prevent childhood obesity, it can also cause tooth decay! Frequent snacking – or “grazing” – is becoming a major source of tooth decay in children.
Teeth go through a healing process between meals as our saliva naturally remineralizes our teeth from the acidic attacks caused from normal eating. When kids snack on sticky foods such as crackers or fruit chews, the result is a constant attack on the teeth that breaks down the enamel and makes some more susceptible to cavities.
Here are some more things about snacking that might surprise you:
- How often kids snack (not just what they eat), can be harmful to their teeth. Teeth need breaks between meals to remineralize.
- Carbs cause cavities? Starchy foods like bagels and crackers quickly turn to sugar and easily get stuck on the grooves of the teeth. The longer they sit there, the higher the risk.
- Fruit strips, fruit chews, fruit juice = not really fruit. The main ingredient is sugar EVEN if the product is “all-natural” or “organic”. What’s more, it gets stuck on teeth and eats through enamel.
You may be thinking, “They’re just baby teeth”. But think again. Baby teeth are important for several important functions. They help with chewing and speaking. They help to shape the face and guide the permanent teeth into place. Here are some tips on keeping your kid’s teeth healthy and strong:
- Choose healthy snacks like cheese, yogurt, veggies and fresh fruit. Limit cavity causers like cookies, candy, crackers, juice, energy sport drinks and soda.
- Eat and drink in one sitting instead of sipping and snacking all day. If you choose to have sweets or juice, do so with your meal and wash them down with water.
- Cavities are 99.9% preventable. Make sure to brush kids’ teeth twice a day with a small amount of toothpaste – a grain of rice sized amount until the age of 2, and then a pea sized amount after that. Floss once nightly when the teeth touch.
- Get your kids’ teeth checked by a pediatric dentist by their first birthday, and then twice a year after that to ensure changes or concerns are addressed early!