It’s summer, and that means lots of sugary treats like Popsicles, ice cream, lemonade and snack bar candy.
These sweet foods can really wreak havoc on your child’s teeth. Sugar causes tooth decay if not removed quickly with brushing and flossing. And many summer treats are high-acid which can break down tooth enamel and also alter the pH level in the mouth to encourage bacteria growth.
But you don’t have to deprive your children – or yourself. Here are some ideas on how to switch sugary treats for healthier versions with much less sugar:
Try making your own popsicles. Just toss some yogurt and fruit with a touch of honey in a blender and freeze it up in Popsicle molds. These homemade treats have much less sugar and even come with a calcium boost.
Drink water instead of sports drinks. Many of these “energy” drinks can have stimulants like lots of caffeine along with quantities of different types of sugars. Sports drinks also tend to have very low pH levels, which bacteria love. Stick to plain water to stay hydrated. Add a little zest for your child by slipping in a few strawberries, orange slices, cucumber slices or mint.
Make ice cream an occasional treat. Enjoying ice cream while you are out is a problem as you will not brush your teeth right away. Try another type of icy treat – frozen fruit. Sample a frozen banana or grapes or get creative with frozen fruit kabobs.
Steer clear of soda and lemonade. Make water your go-to beverage for yourself and your children. If you love carbonation, try the many types of flavored seltzer water that are available.
Avoid candy and other sticky foods. Candy obviously should be limited, with its high sugar level, but other snacks that appear to be “healthy” can lead to cavities too. Foods that stick to the teeth like fruit snacks, dried fruit and protein and granola bars leave behind sticky food particles that can damage tooth enamel. Be sure to rinse your mouth with water after enjoying candy.
Here’s a simple way to replace sugary treats: chew sugarless gum. Chewing gum increases saliva production to wash away damaging acids. Choose sugar-free gum with the American Dental Association (ADA) seal of approval.
Let Us Know If You Have Questions on Any Aspect of Oral Health Care
Dr. Lorraine Burio of Candlewood Dental Care has been treating and educating patients for over twenty-five years. Our office serves the New Fairfield, New Milford, Danbury, and Sherman areas of CT and Pawling, Patterson and Putnam Lake of New York. You can call us at 203-746-1200 or make an appointment here.