The most common threat to your child’s teeth isn’t sugar or candy, but rather the oral bacteria that make up dental plaque and metabolize sugar into more harmful substances. For example, certain types of oral bacteria turn sugar (and other types of carbs) into acids, which then sap your child’s teeth and their enamel of vital minerals. This paves the way for cavity development and heightened risks of severe tooth infection, which can lead to the need for extensive restorative treatment. While sugar may not be the biggest direct threat, your child’s smile can benefit greatly when you teach them to avoid candy and sugar that could feed harmful oral bacteria.
Start by teaching them why
Children are curious by nature, and one of the most effective ways to get them to pay attention to good hygiene practices, like avoiding candy, is to satisfy their curiosity. Explain how much sugar is packed into one small piece of candy, and how that sugar impacts their teeth and oral health. Describe what cavities can do to their teeth, and how they can lead to spending more time in the dentist’s chair receiving treatment. There are many different ways to make these lessons fun and adaptable to kids’ attention spans, which we’re always happy to teach parents when they bring their children in for routine dental visits.
Make candy a rare luxury
While excess amounts of candy can indirectly lead to cavity development, that doesn’t mean you should (or can) completely cut it out of your child’s life. Instead, save candy indulgence for special, rare occasions, so children can look forward to enjoying their favorite treats occasionally. It may be challenging at first, but like any routine, repetition will make it a habit that children will likely carry with them well into adulthood. By offering your child tasty, but healthier, alternative snacks in the meantime, you can make the wait much more tolerable, and help them develop a taste for treats that don’t significantly raise their risks of cavities.
Introduce tasty, but healthier, alternatives
There’s no denying that candy tastes great. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be such a threat. However, sugar-rich treats aren’t the only things that are good enough to satisfy a child’s taste buds. Natural, healthier treats, like fruit, assorted nuts, sugar-free yogurt and popsicles, and more can help satisfy your child’s sweet tooth without giving into the potentially harmful effects of sugar. The more you focus on healthier snacks, the more likely your child will learn to crave them more than they crave candy, making it more likely they can give up sugary treats altogether by the time they reach adulthood.
Protect your child’s smiles for life
There are many different things you can do to protect your child’s smile, and teaching them to avoid candy and excess sugar is one of the most important ones. To learn more, schedule an appointment by calling Pediatric Dental Care at Casa Linda in Dallas, TX today at 214-321-4880. We proudly serve patients who live around Casa Linda and all surrounding Dallas communities.