Tooth Minute Tuesday

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Keeping Your Kids Cavity Free

Keeping Your Kids Cavity Free

Welcome back!

Today, I'll be taking an excerpt from an e-book I'm working on called "Cavity-Proof". It's all about how to keep your kids free from dental cavities (also known as "caries")

Without further adieu, here it is.

Secret 1) Get a Handle on Meal and Snack Frequency

It is possible for one glass of orange juice to be worse for your teeth than three bottles of Pepsi. Before we delve into why, you need to understand the relationship between food and cavity-formation. 

Any time your child consumes something with fermentable carbohydrates in it (i.e. most meals and snacks), their teeth will encounter an acid attack. The acid attack usually lasts for 30-60 minutes, during which time your child’s teeth will undergo a process called “demineralization.” After the acid attack subsides, their teeth will “remineralize” as long as no permanent damage was done. This is an oversimplification to some degree, but gives you the gist of the concept. Typically, if someone is only eating 3 meals per day, there is no permanent damage to teeth during demineralization because there are only 3 acid attacks per day. In other words, the teeth only have three battles to fight. However, those children who are eating constantly are putting their teeth through a never-ending war of acid attacks, without any time to remineralize in between. 

With this in mind, you can imagine that those children who are “grazers” (i.e. constant snackers) are at a much higher risk of developing cavities. In the same way, someone who sips on an orange juice all day long is at much higher risk than someone who slams back three pepsis all at once - well, at least as far as their teeth are concerned. The single orange juice consumed over the entire day represents a multitude of acid attacks, while the three pepsis all at once represent just a single acid attack. Oh and This example is not a license to drink three pepsis all at once. That’s just asking for trouble!

So here’s the secret - if you can limit carbohydrate consumption to three times per day, you’re child’s risk of developing a cavity will drop drastically. What about snacks you ask? Your child can still snack, but you just want to make sure the snacks are as low in fermentable carbohydrates as possible. While vegetables are typically a safe bet, fruits are not, as the naturally occurring sugars within them will lead to acid attacks. That means fruit juice is out of the question! Plain nuts of many varieties are also relatively low in carbohydrates and higher in fats, and can be a good choice for snacks. One exception to the carb rule is cheese; despite the lactose (a fermentable carbohydrate), consuming cheese in small amounts after a meal actually has an anti-cavity effect. So if your child absolutely needs a snack in between meals, think about veggies, nuts and cheese as safe options, especially if they are prone to developing cavities.

If you'd like to watch a video with a more visual explanation of how meal frequency affects cavity formation, you can watch here:

There you have it! Keep an eye out for the e-book. It will be a free download when it becomes available :)

Michael the Dentist

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