The number of children under 12 having fillings is rapidly increasing and has more than doubled since 1970. Deciduous teeth (or “baby teeth”) decay more quickly and easily than adult teeth. High levels of sugar and acidity in your child’s mouth can cause their baby teeth to decay.
Monitor how much sugar is in your child’s diet, and remember, this isn’t just ‘bad’ sugars like lollies and biscuit. Fruit, juice, milk, cordial, even white bread, all also contain high levels of sugar. If your child frequently sips from a bottle or cup, make sure they are only having water. The frequency of sugar in take is more relevant than the quantity of sugar itself – eg to sip on cordial or juice over the entire day is more damaging to the teeth than to eat one high sugar chocolate and then have a glass of water.
If you can imagine, the sugar increases the acidity in your child’s saliva – which is then washing over their baby teeth throughout the day. While a treat is okay now and then, encourage your kids to drink water and avoid giving them juices, cordials, milk to sleep or sugary snacks.
Does your child prefer other drinks over water? Many children seem to prefer rather juice, milk, flavoured milks, cordial or even soft drink instead of water. Frequently drinking these high sugar drinks is not only bad for your child’s overall health, it is very bad for their dental health. Baby teeth are not as strong as adult teeth and therefore decay more rapidly.
Juices, cordials and even flavored milks are very high in sugar. While many parents argue that natural sugar isn’t harmful to health, natural or unnatural sugars are damaging to baby teeth and enamel. While we aren’t saying your children can never have these drinks, we promote moderation for these sweet treats.
Children under the age of 12 who have fillings in their baby teeth are three times more likely to need extensive dental treatment in their adulthood, so set your kids up for a lifetime of healthy teeth by brushing, flossing and limiting sugar in take – no matter how young or old.
Baby teeth do matter. Brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and limiting sugary drinks to special occasions are two ways to ensure your children’s teeth stay healthy. Our dental therapist Leanne Smith specialises in seeing children of all ages. Book an appointment with our dental therapist to better your children’s teeth.