There’s a fine line for parents (and the public, in general) to tread when it comes to children’s food and snacks, particularly those that affect dental health.
You know that sweets, sugary drinks, and fast food have a nasty effect on teeth. People, especially kids, can be fussy about their food, so finding snacks that are healthy enough can be a headache. However, dental professionals warn that some common “healthy” snack treats could actually be doing more harm than good.
The Sweet Truth
Certain healthy food, while acknowledged to be beneficial nutritionally and developmentally, could be affecting a child’s dental health, causing severe problems in the long run.
Raisins, prunes, and dried fruit, in general, are a big problem for dental health. While these are packed with vitamins, these also come with concentrated sugar content that’s detrimental to a child’s teeth. A small box of raisins has the carbohydrate equivalent of about 8 and a half teaspoons of sugar.
Not Sweet for the Teeth
Glasgow dental practice Botanics Dental Care explains that sugar is one of the main causes of tooth decay. Sugar, however, comes in various forms. The one you probably do not pay attention to are the sugars in the fruits you eat.
For dried fruits, it becomes a problem because of its sugar content and consistency. The NHS recommends only a daily sugar allowance of no more than five sugar cubes for children aged four to six years-old. Six is the maximum for kids aged seven to ten.
Consistency poses dental problems as well, as these are sticky and can easily get stuck between teeth. If it does, the bacteria in your mouth get a prolonged source of sugar, which can cause decay for a longer period.
This is not to say you should avoid raisins and dried fruits altogether. Having these snack treats as part of a meal is fine. What’s not recommended is snacking on these foods frequently because it keeps the mouth in an acidic state, which may encourage decay.
As a preventive measure, always wash down sugary treats with water and follow the dentist’s recommendation of brushing at least twice a day.