Every child is fond of sweets. With sweets come sugar the dreaded and the worst form of foods. Often we treat children with jams, cookies, ice cream and cakes so that they forget their blues and are happy. But is so much sugar good for them?
When it comes to children, who are fond of the sweets and other sugary snacks which give an instant boost of energy, it should be kept in mind that, ‘Eating sugar is fun but not that good for the teeth!’. The simple reason for this is that a child may devour on sweets and loves them but the truth is that the bacteria in her mouth love those sweets more than her.
Well everyone has a little friend known as bacteria in their mouth. When we eat and drink high sugar food, this little friend – bacteria comes by and attacks the sugar thus turning it into acid. Also, plaque starts forming on the teeth when we eat something sweet and do not brush regularly. The plaque and the acid in it create havoc in the mouth and land up eroding the enamel. Enamel otherwise is the protective layer of the tooth but when it starts weakening due to erosion, then the risk of caries increases.
Have you ever given a thought to the unnecessary sugar you, your child and your family consume in a day? The key to an overall health is healthy teeth. It is really easy to have healthy teeth if you just be a little careful about the sugar in your and the family’s diet.
Here are a few tried, tested and easy ways to bid adieu to the sugar consumed in the day:
Know the truth about juices: Packaged juices are high, very high in calories and sugar. A safer bet to offer your child is milk and water. In fact, it is advisable that you should not offer juice to a child who is less than a year since it does not offer any nutritional benefits. For children 1-3 years of age, only half a cup of juice, 4-6 years half to three fourth cup and 7-18 years should be allowed 1 cup a day. Care should be taken that children are not allowed to sip on the juice throughout the day as this increases the risk of tooth decay. The risk is more because bacteria get more chance to feed on the sugar and as a result produce more acid that erodes the teeth. This also stands true for juice in which water has been added, because even if the amount of sugar is reduced, the time taken to finish it has increased. Care should be taken to serve juice with care and under limits. Make sure that the left over juice is cleaned up and not left for the child to drink it later.
Give a miss to the sodas: Soda or more commonly called soft drinks or aerated beverages are a big NO for your child’s teeth. Did you know that one bottle of soft drink has sugar which is recommended to have for over the three days? When children drink these sugar-laden drinks, the sugar sticks on the teeth thus giving a lot of food to the bacteria which in turn release acid and erode the teeth, thereby leading to caries. As per a research, sugary foods and drinks consumption is significantly associated with behavioural habits of children and is a clear behavioural risk for oral health.
Do you believe in sticky candies: A lot of us think that sticky dried fruit and gummies are healthy. But this is not the truth. Dried fruit is as good as sticky candies rather than being a fruit. It sticks on the teeth and even longer than a milk chocolate would do, which is very easy to rinse off. Many of us snack on raisins and consider it as a healthy snack. But what we don’t know is that it can be troublesome as well. Raisins are considered to be a bad snack as they are sticky and can stay on the given tooth for a long long time. And all this while, until it is washed off the bacteria, have a great party.
Keep a check on the carbs: Along with sweets, children are also fond of savouries like french fries, chips, biscuits, bread and breakfast cereals. These food items not only contain carbohydrates but also salt in moderate amounts. The carbohydrates break down in simple sugars like glucose, fructose, lactose and maltose. The fermentable carbohydrates break as soon as they are ingested and it is this carbohydrate which joins hand with the bacteria to start the process of decay and destruction.
Check the labels: When you are out on your shopping spree for the grocery, do make sure to check the labels properly. Take care of the quantity of the sugar that is added. Usually, the sugar listed on the labels is in grams. 1 tsp of sugar is equal to 4 grams, so care should be taken not to feed more than 15-20 grams of sugar in a day. Also, when dining out, choose your child’s snack carefully. Opt for something that does not have added sugars and sweeteners.
Be a role model: Children see children do. So if you opt for healthy eating habits, cut out the sweets from your diet, brush twice a day, drink water and floss your teeth, I am sure your child will also follow you. Changing your child’s habit is not just by changing the things they do and like but also changing yourself for their betterment.
Linking this post to Corinne’s #FridayReflections