How your food choices could damage your teeth.

How your food choices could damage your teeth.

We are what we eat. I’m sure you’ve heard this, and read it often enough. Well, it’s true. Our food choices can lead to health and wellbeing – or diabetes, heart disease, gum disease and more.

EVERYTHING IN MODERATION

I bet you’ve heard or read that a dozen times at least. We’re not saying ‘don’t drink the can of soft drink’ but, rather, ‘Don’t drink five cans of soft drink a day.’

Have your cake but in moderation – and brush your teeth afterwards.

Why? Sugary foods and baked starches cause acid to form. This acid attacks tooth enamel and eventually you got a hole (or cavity). That means a filling.

It takes at least two years from a white spot on your tooth to an actual hole forming. That’s a very good reason to see your dentist regularly, don’t you think? If you’re aware, you can stop the hole forming.

WHAT TYPE OF DRINKS CAN BE HIGH IN SUGAR?

  • Juice, soft drink, cordial, sports drinks and energy drinks all contain sugar
  • A can of popular soft drink can contain up to 15 teaspoons of sugar and is highly acidic.
  • Soy and rice milk may also be high in sugars

WHAT TYPE OF FOODS CAN BE HIGH IN SUGAR?

Lollies, biscuits, cakes, chocolates, ice cream, cereals, spreads, cough lollies and sugared chewing are all relatively high in sugar. Most of these should be ‘treats’ rather than everyday fare.

 HOW OFTEN SHOULD MY CHILD SNACK?

Eating or drinking anything containing carbohydrates more than five times a day in total (including meals) puts your child at risk of dental decay.

Definitely no eating or drinking other than water after dinner.

We recommend that children should drink tap water rather than flavoured drinks. Not only do they miss out on sugar and acid, but also, they’re ingesting the fluoride to set them up for life.

If your child is snacking on foods low in nutrition, the development is delayed. Also, think about the size of a child’s stomach – and the size of a glass of juice. If you allow your child to drink a large glass of juice not long before meals, he or she probably won’t feel hungry – full up with sugar and acid.

HOW CAN I HELP MY CHILD?

  • Only give sweet drinks at meal times.
  • Use coloured cups or spiralled straws for water to add fun.
  • Take a bottle of water when you leave the house rather than buying sugary drinks while out.
  • Replace sugary foods with healthier choices for in-between meals, including fruit, yogurt, cheese and vegetable sticks.
  • Ask family and friends not to give sweets as treats.
  • Prevent “grazing” by providing meals and planned snacks at set times during the day.
  • Have your child sit at the table for meals and snacks with minimal distractions, and make meal time enjoyable.
  • Use reward charts and praise to provide motivation and reinforce good behaviour.

Please refer to the leaflet “Reading Food and Drink Labels”. This is a great guide to measuring sugar content in products.

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