You might say it’s difficult enough to control your own dietary impulses, but if you are a parent, you know how enticing sugary treats can be for kids. Sodas are often the worst offenders when it comes to harming the developing teeth of our youngest members of society. Childhood cavities and childhood obesity have both grown, but large portions continue to be readily available to kids. Dr. Jessica Lawson, Urbandale family dentist, is a mother herself, so she can relate to the difficulty of keeping track of everything your child consumes, and saying no to something they really want. Most treats – even soda – won’t be too harmful in occasional moderate amounts, but try to instill in your child what a true portion size should look like if they are a fan of fizzy, sugary beverages.
Reel in the Serving Sizes
Serving sizes can be tricky. You can often pick up a gargantuan soda at a mini-mart for a little over a dollar. What a deal! Just don’t lose sight of the fact that the price of that soda can include unwanted pounds and tooth decay. Even if you buy a smaller soda in a can or bottle, nutrition labels often try to pull a fast one. If you merely glance, you’re likely to say, “120 calories? Not too bad.” Look closer. If that’s 120 calories per serving and there are four servings in the bottle, you’ve just quadrupled that calorie count. Meanwhile, most juices are not much better for you or your child than a soda. Dr. Lawson recommends limiting your sugary beverage servings to a 4-6 ounce glass a day, at the very most. However, skipping these beverages altogether and sticking with water is still the best choice.
Beware of Hidden Sources of Sugar
Once your tooth enamel is weakened by sugar and acid, your teeth will be more susceptible to cavities as well as enamel demineralization and tooth sensitivity. Sucrose comes in many forms, including certain foods that don’t seem sweet, but are full of carbohydrates. Flour and corn based foods metabolize as sugar and feed germs in your mouth just as well as sweet eats. Sticking to a whole foods diet as much as possible is the best way to care for your oral and overall health.