If you are the parent of a young child, you may be concerned about the preservation of their oral health. Teeth of any age are susceptible to tooth decay. Thus, a child's primary teeth may develop cavities just as adult teeth do.
Still, parents may feel that regular visits to the dentist, combined with good oral hygiene, are enough to protect their youngsters' teeth from damage. Nevertheless, there are other factors, such as diet, that impact pediatric oral health.
Here are a few foods and drinks that you may be surprised to learn can be detrimental to a child's teeth.
Chips are often made from starchy foods, such as potatoes and corn. Enzymes in the saliva convert the starches found in chips into simple sugars when the chips enter the oral cavity.
The oral bacteria that are largely responsible for tooth decay feed on simple carbohydrates. As the bacteria metabolize the sugars, they release acids as metabolic byproducts. The acids cause tooth decay by dissolving the minerals that comprise the enamel.
In addition to causing decay, the hard texture of chips may cause minute lacerations to the gingival tissues. Thus, the gums may become inflamed if your child eats numerous chips regularly.
Instead of chips, parents can soothe their children's craving for crunchy foods by offering them raw, crisp vegetables, such as carrot sticks. The crunchy, fibrous veggies include less sugar and can help clean the teeth.
Many parents know that the sugars in regular sodas and other sugary drinks can incite tooth decay. However, they may not realize that diet sodas may be harmful even though they do not contain sugar.
Diet sodas are still highly acidic. Just as bacterial acids can dissolve the tooth material, diet sodas may also dissolve important minerals, such as calcium and phosphorus, causing cavities to develop.
Instead of diet sodas, parents can offer their children water or tea to quench their thirst. Water can help youngsters stay hydrated while diluting acids in the mouth.
If the child desires more flavor than water provides, tea can be offered. Black tea contains compounds that are antimicrobial and may reduce the number of harmful microbes in the mouth.
Citrus fruits are highly acidic. As a result, their frequent consumption may lead to tooth decay and gingival inflammation.
To learn more about how your child's diet may influence their oral health, schedule a consultation with a pediatric dentist at an office like Sacrey & Sacrey Dentistry in your local area.