We often blame candy as the primary cause behind tooth decay, but it’s the foods our children eat and drink regularly that are more likely to be at fault. Peanut butter, raisins, fruit juice and chewy fruit snacks all contain sugars that can be harmful to your child’s teeth. Sticky foods like raisins, dried fruit and gummy fruit snacks cling to teeth, leaving their sugary residue behind. Unless your child brushes immediately after snack like these, sugar could stay in the mouth for hours inviting tooth decay with it.
Flavored milk and fruit juices should be finished right away, not left to be sipped on in a bottle or cup for hours. Never put soda in your child’s bottle or sippy cup. Drinking soda regularly can erode tooth enamel. In fact, sugary drinks and sodas are best had at mealtime with a good brushing afterwards.
Encourage healthy eating all around at mealtime and snack time. Low-sugar snacks include fresh fruits, enriched cereals, whole-grain crackers and raw vegetables. Crunchy snacks like apples and carrots can also help clean teeth.
Again, making sure your child brushes regularly can go a long way toward keeping cavities away.
Jean Campbell Galli is a freelance writer and mother or two. She is also a frequent contributor to Hudson Valley Parent magazine.
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