You make sure your children brush their teeth twice a day, but what about the health of their teeth for the rest of the time? Parents tend to underestimate the danger that sugary food and drinks pose to their child’s teeth. Sticky sugar-filled foods and sippy cups filled with juice could be causing cavities faster than you may think.
Here are our tips on how to cut down on sugar and promote dental health:
1. Make vegetables obligatory
Vegetables can be the last thing kids want to eat when given the choice. Kids are naturally drawn to sweeter foods, so in order to combat a penchant for sugar, make vegetables their main options. Make sure your kids understand from a young age what is expected of them at the dinner table.
2. Choose healthier sweets
Healthy eating doesn’t have to be a nightmare. Choose between a variety of bitter and sweeter vegetables to balance your child’s diet. Think about what your child might choose: sweet potatoes or russet potatoes. Also consider the types of sweet treats you give your kids. Avoid the sticky ones that’ll get stuck in their teeth for hours.
3. Brush after sticky foods
If your child does get their hands on a sticky sugary snack, explain to her why it’s important to brush right after eating. Getting them into this habit while they are young can help them avoid problems with cavities throughout their lives.
4. Cut down on TV
Children are inundated with commercials for sugar-filled foods while they’re watching television. Limit the amount of time they are exposed to that messaging, as it can have profound effects on the way they think about healthy eating.
5. Be cognizant of what you keep in the house
If your child sees you indulging in unhealthy sugary snacks, they’ll begin to question your restraints on their diet. The first step to keeping this from happening in your house is to keep those products out. Dried fruits are a good substitute if you have a sweet tooth that you’re not willing to part with.
6. No juice in sippy cups
Fruit juice can begin as a tactic to slip vitamins into your children’s diet, but end up causing them cavities. Prolonged exposure to fruit juice can lead to cavities whether or not there’s added sugar, as sugar is naturally occurring in fruit. Kids tend to take their time with what’s in their sippy cups, so limit fruit juices to mealtime only.