Tooth decay is a common dental problem that affects both toddlers and adults. Children are more prone to this due to their intake of junk foods. Though moms try their best to avoid giving foods that cause cavities in toddlers, they must also ensure that the children need to eat healthy food to assure that their toddler’s teeth are free from decay and other dental problems.
Once you notice the little one’s little milk teeth erupting, it is time you take all precautions to get rid of toddler cavities. Parents need to set up regular dental check-ups to rule out the chances of any tooth decay at the initial stage. Teaching your toddler to brush twice a day is alone not enough to safeguard from tooth cavities. The problem also lies in the eating habits of your child.
Let us see in detail about foods that cause cavities in toddlers and what should the toddler and the parent know in preventing tooth cavities.
A breakdown or damage in the tooth enamel is known as tooth decay. Tooth decay leads to cavities which leads to holes in the teeth. According to a source, 42% of children between 2-11 years will develop at least one cavity in their primary teeth.
There are factors like bacteria and other things that could cause cavities in toddlers. Due to excessive consumption of carbohydrate rich foods such as sugar and starches, there are many chances they could be left on the teeth.
Though we know that sweets are the most common reason for cavities in toddlers, how about savories like chips or even a healthy snack like raisins? Many parents know the common unhealthy foods for toddlers and offer them food that is healthy for the baby but forget the fact that it could cause tooth decay. A buildup of dental plaque — a sticky substance, covers the teeth, which forms like bacteria and gets mixed with food, saliva causing a cavity.
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If you think your child is too young for a dental check-up, you are wrong. Even before the child has his/her first candy, they could have developed a cavity. It is always not about brushing and flossing properly, sometimes foods are also the culprit.
Cavities are common among children and if left unattended, the child may experience pain and infection. Though dental hygiene helps in preventing cavities, it is also better to know foods that cause cavities in toddlers which can help you and your child to prevent them from developing cavities.
Listed below is a list of foods causing cavities in toddlers. Don’t be surprised!
Kids enjoy juice on any time of the day due to its sweet taste which is because of its high sugar content. When kids drink fruit juice, it sticks to the tooth surface which in turn gets converted to sugar acids. Even soft drinks and soda contain sugar which is an unhealthy option.
Drinking juice in a sippy cup is also not advisable. The best way is to mix some water in the juice and dilute it before consumption.
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2. Popcorn – the snack food that causes cavities
Kids love popcorn and all they want is some more of it. Take them to a movie or to go shopping, you will see them picking popcorn first. If you are wondering if popcorn is healthy or unhealthy food for teeth, it is an unhealthy one as it is capable of getting stuck between the teeth and developing bacteria and cavities.
To ensure your kid’s tooth doesn’t get affected make your child rinse their mouth after eating popcorn.
Kids love French fries, pizza, samosas, etc. We all know that these foods are rich in starch and carbohydrates which is the main reason for the development of cavities. The little leftovers from these fries and bread crumbs can easily get into the teeth gaps creating a space for cavity development.
If you are wondering — do potatoes cause cavities? the answer is yes due to their starch content. Eating this once in a while and rinsing the mouth immediately is the trick to saving your child’s teeth.
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4. Yes, candies ofcourse
So, we have all been there where we grab candy and offer it to the child just to stop them from crying. The acids present in candies are tougher on teeth and can easily cause damage to the enamel. Also, since they are chewy, they easily stick to the teeth causing tooth decay.
The suggested way is to avoid candies or replace candies with chocolates. However, don’t forget to let the child rinse their mouth after eating.
Bread is a staple food in most families as it is economical and is easy to prepare. You can toast it with garlic or apply a jam and consume it. Whichever way it is consumed, bread is high in starch and is easily converted to sugar acids causing tooth decay. The same applies to pasta as well.
The best way is to introduce the whole wheat option to the child and limit their exposure to these kinds of food.
6. Raisins- the sweet dryfruit
Though raisins top the list of healthy foods for kids, it is not recommended considering the welfare of the child’s tooth. Dried fruits like raisins are sticky foods that tend to stay longer on the teeth than other foods. This can lead to bacteria and decay formation.
The suggested way in preventing tooth decay is to switch to dried fruits like cashews, almonds, and walnuts.
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Dark folds such as red pasta sauce and soy sauce can cause damage to the tooth enamel — that covers the teeth. This could also make the baby’s teeth turn yellow or brown. The acidic content in foods like tomato sauce and tomatoes could make the teeth porous.
The best way is to avoid this food causing cavities in toddlers or make the child brush their teeth after eating.
Children under 6 need adult supervision for better brush techniques. Hence, improper brushing could also cause tooth decay. Apart from that, diet also plays a role. So, there’s a higher risk for tooth decay if your child’s diet isn’t followed well.
Though cavities among toddlers can be treated easily, there are few methods by which you can prevent the toddler from developing cavities.
As soon as you note the little one’s teeth erupting, start to wash it using warm water. You can later introduce a good toothpaste with fluoride to avoid plaque build-up.
Children must brush their teeth two times for at least two minutes every day. Flossing should be done once every day. If the child is too young to brush by themselves parents may help them. Also, teach your child to rinse their mouth after every meal.
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Drinking from regular cups enables your child to reduce liquid retention in the mouth which helps the chances of cavity formation. Also, children who have the habit of using bottles while sleeping can be switched to regular cups as a cup cannot be taken to bed.
Try to limit your child’s intake of candy, gummies, cookies, fruit roll-ups, or cookies. These are very bad for the child’s teeth especially if taken in large quantities. Offer only a small portion of them during mealtimes and let the child wash their mouth after consuming.
Visit your child’s pediatric dentist for regular dental cleanings and check-ups. He will help you find out the conditions of worsening decay and suggest ways through which dental care can be followed well.
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Avoiding cavities begins with proper, routine oral care. Continuous munching of snacks leads to the development of cavities in younger children. You can maintain a healthy oral hygiene of your child by having a structured meal/snack diet plan and letting them drink a lot of water in between.
Make sure to choose wisely between healthy and unhealthy food for teeth. Always ask yourself before choosing snacks for your children, if that food is good for the toddler’s teeth. Remember, candy is not always the only bad thing for the little one’s teeth. Potato chips or cookies can also cause cavities in toddlers. Also, those snacks or meals high in carbohydrates pose a threat to the toddler’s teeth.
Moreover, the symptoms of tooth decay and cavities could be different from child to child. It is not always easy for us to identify cavities in toddlers until it is visible. Cavities don’t always cause symptoms. Sometimes we can’t trace it until their dentist finds it.