Oral Care: The secret to strong and cavity-free teeth lies in a child’s lunchbox.
Parents teach their children about the importance of oral hygiene and work towards inculcating in them, the habit of brushing and flossing twice a day. A healthy dental regime is essential for keeping orthodontic troubles at bay. However, it should be noted that the secret to strong and cavity-free teeth lies in a child’s lunchbox. Every meal contains varied amounts of sugar and starch, which are used by the bacteria present in the mouth to produce acids that adversely harm the enamel of the teeth. Minerals like calcium and phosphate present in saliva, and fluoride from toothpaste along with water prevent the erosion. Constant consumption of starchy items leads to an increased release of harmful substances, subsequently accelerating the process of plaque formation and mineral loss. Further, edible goods that are sticky, stay in the mouth for an extended period of time and enhance the risks of tooth decay.
Hence, it is advised for parents to be watchful of their child’s eating habits, especially with respect to the following foods:
Sugary Foods, Juices And Candies
While these seem harmless, excessive consumption of such items can erode enamel and are harmful for an individual’s teeth. Hard candies are all the more dangerous as apart from being rich in sugar content, they can also trigger a dental emergency like a broken or chipped tooth. In addition to these, sweetened liquid medicines prescribed for children might help resolve one health issue, but invite other chronic dental ones.
Frequent consumption of fruits with high acidic content can cause erosion of enamel and make teeth more susceptible to decay over time. Even though a squeeze of lemon can turn a glass of water into a beverage preferred by children, it does not necessarily benefit their oral health. Citrus fruits not only cause mouth sores, but can also irritate existing ones. In order to curb the damage caused, one should drink ample amounts of water.
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Coffee and Tea
A regulated intake of these beverages in their natural form is not as harmful. However, if consumed excessively, it can cause dry mouth and even stain one’s teeth. It is suggested that individuals should resist the addition of sugar in their drinks if they wish to maintain sparkly white teeth.
They form an integral part of a healthy snack plan, but most dry fruits are sticky in nature. Such food items can harm a child’s teeth as they tend to stay in the mouth longer as compared to other edible options. If it is a part of a kid’s meal, one should ensure a proper brushing, rinsing and flossing schedule.
Whilst chewing white bread, saliva present in the mouth breaks down the starches into sugar. Once transformed into a gummy-paste like substance, the bread sticks to the cervices between teeth, and can later cause cavities. Parents should opt for less refined varieties like whole wheat as they contain low sugar content and aren’t easily broken down.
Potato chips and crackers are very enticing options to gorge on, but one should note that they are made out of refined carbohydrates, which break down to sugar in the mouth. When chewed, these become soft and get trapped between a child’s teeth. It is always advised to floss thoroughly after consuming such food items.
It is a known fact that such drinks are bad for a person’s well-being in the long haul, as they have high amounts of sugar and acidic content, which further proves to be harmful for a child’s teeth. Moreover, caffeinated beverages can dry one’s mouth out. For consumption, a straw should be used as it helps in minimising direct contact with a person’s teeth.
Water contains essential minerals that help in fighting cavity-causing bacteria. However, bottled water lacks fluoride, which is necessary to prevent decay. For a child who simply drinks packaged water, one should consult a dentist to help regulate the fluoride requirements. There are several supplements available in terms of tablets, varnishes and gels that can assist in maintaining a balance.
Now that we have shared with you a list of foods that may cause cavity in your child’s teeth, be watchful of their eating habits.
By Dr. Meghna Dang, Prosthodontist & Implantologist, WeSmile
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