It’s an age-old belief that’s been passed on from parent to parent: eating sweets will rot your teeth. Moms and dads then kept jars of chocolates away from children’s reach. But, is this traditional belief really true? What’s in chocolates and candies that make them cavity-causing sweets anyway?
The Surprising Truth
To answer the questions above, it’s important to understand how cavities form in the mouth. According to a children’s dentist in Riverton, dental caries develop when oral bacteria process the debris left on the teeth after your kids consumed food. It’s like the bacteria share with the sweets your kids ate. To break down the food residue in the mouth, the bacteria release an acid that mixes with saliva, thus forming that sticky deposit dentists don’t like: plaque.
Plaque begins to build up after eating, and if it’s not washed away through brushing, it could leave small holes in the tooth’s surface, damaging the enamel. It’s the first phase of cavities.
Over time, the cavity problem affects the inner structures of the tooth. This is when your child usually experiences pain and tooth sensitivity. So, before you even see these symptoms, take your kids to a children’s dentist who can help them prevent dental problems.
The fact of the matter is, it’s not the sweets that cause cavities — it’s the plaque that’s not removed. Often, kids tend to skip brushing teeth after eating chocolates, and that’s what puts them at risk for cavities.
Prevention of Cavities
So, as it turns out, keeping your kids away from chocolate jars isn’t the best way to protect them from cavities. Of course, you want to limit their intake of sweets (for nutrition reasons, too), but motivating them to practice good oral care habits is what you should be after.
Even if your kids visit their pediatric dentist regularly, it’s your responsibility to remind them about their daily oral care routines. Encourage kids to brush twice a day and floss every after meal. Make sure that they also get enough fluoride. This mineral strengthens the tooth enamel, thus preventing tooth decays. While toothpaste contains fluoride, you may still need to ask for fluoride supplements from your dentist to protect your kids’ teeth better.
So, once and for all, ‘eating sweets rots the teeth’ is a myth. It doesn’t mean, however, that you should let your kids binge on chocolates and candies. Eating sweets in moderation is still important — but good oral care habits are more crucial.