Problems with oral health are an unfortunate result of sugar consumption and improper oral care. According to the Indian Dental Association, it is important for kids to limit the number of times they eat snacks each day. Every time they eat a snack, plaque produces acid that can lead to tooth decay. All foods (and beverages other than water) cause plaque acid to form. Sugars are particularly harmful.
Tooth decay occurs when the natural bacteria (plaque) in your mouth interact with deposits left by starchy and sugary foods. When these meet, acids are produced, and over time your tooth enamel may weaken and dissolve, allowing cavities to develop. Low-sugar snacks, combined with a healthy toothbrushing regimen, will help eliminate your child’s risk of contracting dental diseases and put cavities at bay.
The tactics of eliminating sugary chocolate bars and biscuits, and steering clear of favourites such as white bread, still leave a long list of healthy snacks and meal options that are high in fibre and rich in calcium and that will not create a platform for tooth decay.
Foods and snacks made with oats, grains and bran, such as multigrain bread, granola, oatmeal porridge, brown rice and air-popped popcorn boast zero artificial colours, zero artificial flavours and zero preservatives and are low in sugar. Many cereals rich in whole grains have 3 to 6 grams of sugar per serving and are packed with vitamins (B and C), minerals and fibre. To find the healthiest, low-sugar bread and granola, look for bread products that say “100% whole grain” or “100% whole wheat.” When looking for granola, pick items that are marked “low-fat” and “sugar-free” and that contain protein and fibre. This way, you know you are getting a product that is nutritionally beneficial and gentle on tiny teeth.
Kids and vegetables do not always go together. But when you pair them with rice or pasta or dip them in a tasty dressing, they become more acceptable to little ones. In addition to being a great source of nutrients, raw vegetables such as carrots, cucumbers, lettuce, bell peppers, grape tomatoes and spinach are naturally low in sugar, unlike tinned and packaged vegetables.
Always high in protein, the low-carb/no-carb section of the food pyramid — catering to meat, nuts, beans and dairy — is virtually free of all sugars. Food items such as skinless chicken, lean beef, black beans, seafood, low-fat cheese sticks, cheese slices and unsalted nuts and sunflower seeds give your kids the proper amount of protein without all the sugar.
From apples to blueberries, the freshness and flavour of fruit is a wonderful part of a balanced diet. That is why fruits that are low in sugar, such as strawberries, dried apples, avocado, cranberries, blackberries and raspberries are perfect treats to help prevent cavities when paired with a proper oral health routine. Sunflower seeds, unsalted nuts and sugar-free chocolate chips are also fun and delectable treats for your kids.
Taking the appropriate steps toward preventing tooth decay is an important parental decision. While eliminating sugar altogether is not necessary — we can all use a sweet treat sometimes — cutting back on your child’s sugar intake by replacing fizzy drinks, overly processed snacks and simple carbohydrates with healthy snacks that are low in sugar and high in nutrients is key for instilling smart eating habits in your children.
Our paediatric dentist is a dentist dedicated to the oral health of children, from infancy throughout the various stages of childhood and teenage years.
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