In the third of five blogs, Steve Lomas (Practice Partner at Old Surgery Dental Practice) shares an article he recently wrote for his doctor so he could advise his patients on how to look after their children’s teeth. Part 3 again deals with sugar, this time taking a closer look at how the damage it can cause can be limited by following some simple rules.
We all know sugar is the given most of the blame for tooth decay, but it is only one part of the triangle, and without plaque being present, or a frequent intake, the opportunity for it to cause decay is more limited
- Try and keep sweet treats to meal times
- In between meals try and stick to water, sugar free tea and coffee, milk or if necessary no added sugar juice for drinks. Allowing your children to use a straw gets the drink past the front teeth helps. Do children ever really need to learn to put sugar in a cup of tea of coffee?
- Keep fresh fruit juice or carbonated drinks to meal times
- Children with a high intake of sugary drinks often suffer decay in the upper front teeth
- Safe snacking – in between meals try to stick to fruit, vegetables, cheese or breadsticks
- Easier said than done I know, but following with milk, water or chewing gum will help, or tea which naturally contains fluoride
- Keep sweets, chocolates, fizzy drinks, hot chocolate to meal times whenever possible
- Children with too high and frequent an intake of sugary foods tend to have decay in the back teeth
- Make sure the whole family is on the same message, mum, dad, grandparents etc. I have seen many children over the years, especially if the grandparents help with after school care, where one part of the family likes to spoil the children. One of my colleagues had to have a little word with his parents as they kept giving his children sweets after school. They did listen, but felt sorry for the girls so started giving them sugar on a teaspoon instead!
- Look out for hidden sugars. Have a look at the labels on breakfast cereals, drinks, snacks etc. Beans, ketchup and so on can contain an amazing amount of sugar
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