Helpful Info From a Kids’ Dentist: What Sugar Does to Baby Teeth

Posted on: April 16, 2019

It is no secret that children enjoy sugary foods and drinks, but if you talk to a kids’ dentist, you will learn that sugar can harm baby teeth. Find out the impact sugar has, so you can protect your child’s teeth.

How sugar attacks teeth

When children consume sugary drinks, the sugar binds to their teeth. Bacteria from the mouth feed on the sugar and produces acid. The acid weakens tooth enamel, increasing the likelihood the kids will develop cavities.

Brushing right after a sugary drink

Parents often send their children directly to the bathroom to brush their teeth after consuming sugar, but that is not always a good idea, according to a kids’ dentist. Drinks like soda and juice have a lot of acid in them, and brushing right away can harm the enamel.

Parents are encouraged to have their children wait 45 minutes before brushing their teeth. Then, they need to brush and floss to rid their teeth of the acid and bacteria that cause decay.

Baby bottle tooth decay

Baby bottle tooth decay is a common problem for children who consume sugary drinks through a bottle. While any teeth can be affected by baby bottle tooth decay, it normally impacts the upper front teeth, according to the American Dental Association. This occurs when babies experience prolonged exposure to sugary drinks.

How to avoid baby bottle tooth decay

Dentists recommend putting babies to bed without a bottle. Also, do not dip pacifiers in sugary drinks since that can contribute to this problem.

How to consume sugar

Most parents do not want to eliminate sugary foods and drinks from their kids’ diets altogether. They want to give them treats from time to time, and that is possible, according to a kids’ dentist. The key is to snack wisely.

Start the clock

Acid attacks the teeth for approximately 20 minutes. If children consume sugar before the 20-minute period is over, the clock starts once again.

Parents can limit the damage of sugary foods and drinks by only allowing children to consume them for a short period of time. A single sugary snack is less damaging than letting kids consume sugar throughout the day.

Use a straw

Children can limit the amount of sugar that reaches their baby teeth by drinking from a straw. Reusable straws are a good option for this. Parents simply wash the straw after use and then reuse it with the next sugary drink.

Stay hydrated with water

Fluoridated water can combat some of the damage caused by sugary drinks. It washes away harmful bacteria, making it less likely that children will damage their baby teeth.

Water also promotes the production of saliva. Saliva is another useful tool in fighting back against decay.

Protecting Kids’ Teeth

A kids’ dentist recommends limiting your children’s sugar intake. Sugar can still be a treat from time to time, but limit its impact by brushing at the right time, drinking an ample amount of water and using a straw when possible.

Request an appointment here: or call Pier 210 Dental Group at (530) 982-4077 for an appointment in our Auburn office.

Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: Kid Friendly Dentist.

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