What parent doesn’t want their child to be completely healthy? If you are like many parents, you probably give your child a daily vitamin and most likely, it’s a gummy vitamin. The need for vitamins aside, let’s focus on the gummy bear and its ‘cousins’ (fruit snacks, fruit leathers, raisins, and basically anything sweet and sticky).
Most people know that sugar can cause cavities. When you eat sugar, the bacteria in the mouth combine with the sugars to form acids. Long story short, these acids cause the cavities.
The reason gummy bears and their ‘cousins’ are so bad for your child’s teeth is the fact that not only are they high in sugar, but they are very sticky, causing these treats to remain in and around teeth long after they are eaten. This prolonged exposure is the reason why gummies are so harmful to the teeth.
Instead of giving your children the gummy vitamin, opt for a non-gummy, chewable one instead. Instead of the fruit snacks, give your child real fruit. If fruit doesn’t cut it, a ‘better’ treat is actually chocolate. Though it does contain sugar, chocolate dissolves quickly and completely.
Kids love juice! It’s also relatively inexpensive and parents often think it is healthy, leading parents to give kids an excessive amount of juice. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children ages 1-6 consume no more than 4 to 6 ounces of juice per day. The high sugar content (even in 100% fruit juices) and the high consumption rate lead to juices being a big factor in cavities.
If your child has to have juice, make sure that you choose 100% fruit juice and dilute it with water to reduce the amount of sugar.
Dr. Sam Park’s Top 10 for kids
- Brush twice a day, especially at night
- Use toothpaste but not too much and make sure you spit it out
- Ask mom or dad for help
- Brush your top teeth for one minute and your bottom teeth for one minute
- Floss every day
- Avoid eating too many sweets
- Drink lots of water
- Visit the dentist every six months
- Change your toothbrush every three months