Diet Discussion

The diet of children, in particular, frequency of eating and drinking is an important factor in tooth decay.  Dietary carbohydrates and sugars in liquid and solid form provide bacteria in plaque the means to make acids which demineralise (dissolve) the enamel tooth surface and can lead to cavities. 

Beware of ‘Hidden sugars”: fructose, lactose, glucose, sucrose are all sugars bacteria can use to produce acids.  Fruit ‘drinks’ are sweetened with refined sugar, but fruit ‘juices’ are not.  Peanut butter on toast is nutritious.  But add jam to it and sugar is present that sticks to the teeth!

The frequency of sugar intake is important

The frequency and type of sugar, rather than the amount of sugar is important.  Reducing the frequency of snacking allows teeth to have a rest and saliva to neutralize plaque acids. 

Aim for a two hour eating break between meals/snacks. 

A seven day diet record helps to identify if your child is snacking too often and whether the diet is balanced. Have your Dental Professional look at the 7day record for advice and comments. 

 The form of the sugar is important

Sugars in sticky forms, such as Toffees or sticky lollies, are more harmful thatn sugars taken in liquid forms.  If sticky foods are consumed, try to brush as soon as possible to remove the food debris. 

Swish and Swallow

Often parents can’t always brush their child’s teeth straight after eating.  To combat the sugar effect when you can’t brush after eating – take a sip of water and swish it around the mouth before swallowing.  This helps to clear food and reduces the level of acids in the mouth. 

© Kidz Teeth | Specialist Paediatric Dentists - Auckland, New Zealand