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Brushing Up on Kid’s Dental Health

In honor of National Children’s Dental Health month, our Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill Dentist offices chose to focus this week’s blog on the important role nutrition plays in your child’s dental health. Making sure your kid’s teeth are pearly white and healthy involves more than just good brushing habits, which we discussed in our last blog post. Your child’s diet can help or harm his teeth. Sugar is like a snake in the grass, hiding in the most seemingly innocuous places. We’re going to make you aware of some of the places it hides and make sure your child doesn’t get more than is healthy for his teeth. Sugar is Bad—All of It You already know sugar is bad for your child’s teeth and causes tooth decay—nothing new there. That’s a well-known fact, right? However; among the parents and children we see in our office, we find all too often that parents are misinformed about what foods are actually safe for their children’s teeth and how much of those foods they should consume. Unfortunately, sugar is in so many things that are marketed to children. It’s hiding in fruit snacks, disguised as “healthy”—it’s even in Capri Sun Roaring Waters, which markets itself as water! Disgraceful, isn’t it? It’s in the milk you drink; it’s in fruits, like apples and oranges, too. But what you need to know as a parent is that whether it’s high fructose corn syrup in a soft drink or natural sugar in fruit juices or fruits, sugar still causes tooth decay—period—regardless of where it comes from. Read Those Labels Parents! As a parent, you do the best you can to make wise, healthy choices for your children. You hear the word “water” and “fruit”, I.e. Capri Sun Roaring Waters, and you think, “Oh, that’s a great choice for my child”. We’ve all done it. Then it happens—the moment you realize that what you’ve been feeding your children, with the best of intentions, is actually NOT what you thought! Those darn marketers! Remember, their job is to make your child pine for their products and woo you into buying them, not to care about the health of your children. I cannot urge you enough to read labels on any foods you consider giving to your children. How Much Sugar and What Kind? The dentists in the Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill locations advise parents to closely follow the guidelines for sugar consumption which have been set by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. They recommend no more than four to six ounces of fruit juice per day, from a cup (never in a bottle or covered cup) and as part of a meal or snack. Avoid night time bottle-feeding with juice and repeated use of a sippy or no-spill cup, and frequent in between meal consumption of sugar-containing snacks or drinks (e.g., juice, formula, soda). Parents–did you get that? No more than four to six ounces of fruit juice per day—period. That means you need to choose when your child gets the juice and offer milk at the two other meals and give them water the remainder of the time. Remember that sugar is everywhere—the chewable vitamins we give our kids, breads, pastas, rice, juices, and fruits. That’s a lot of sugar, in a lot of places. Remember to read labels, use your best judgment, and remember that moderation is important. Regular Visits To the Dentist! Your children should visit the dentist twice per year–every six months. Keep those appointments–establishing good habits goes a long way towards a lifetime of excellent dental health for your child! Need To Schedule Your Child’s Appointment? Call or visit a dentist in one of our three dental offices in Raleigh, Durham, or Chapel Hill, NC. Raleigh Dental Office: 919-878-0055 Durham Dental Office: 919-493-3355 Chapel Hill Dental Office: 919-929-3996