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Revealed - Top foods you didn't know were causing cavities in your kids

Written by Anusuya Suresh |Updated : August 28, 2015 9:34 PM IST

dental-cehck-upIn today's fast-paced world, most parents do not have the luxury of time to spend on preparing elaborate home-made snacks for their child. Added to that is the fact that modern foods like pizza, burgers, chocolates and soft drinks are easily available and indeed, more loved by kids than traditional foods. No wonder then that there appears to be an unending demand for such snacks that are tasty and easily accessible. Unfortunately, they are not exactly healthy for your little ones and not just because of the huge number of calories they contain, but also because of the ill effects they can have on children's teeth.

Food and cavities

After every meal or a drink, tiny food particles remain stuck to the teeth. The germs normally present in the mouth get to work on these food bits and convert the starch and sugar in them into sugar acids. Over a period of time, this acid begins to eat away at the enamel which is the surface layer of the tooth leading to the formation of cavities.

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Cavities are a result of tooth decay, a condition that is also known as dental caries. Cavities not only cause pain; they can also lead to a deeper infection within the structure of the tooth and over time, affect the normal growth of your child. When cavities occur in very young children, it could impact the development of the jaw as well as normal speech pattern.

In other words, tooth decay is a serious matter and you ought to be paying a lot of attention to your child's dental health.

What foods cause cavities?

As we've discussed before, foods that are rich in starch and sugar are the most likely to cause cavities. Here are a few culprits that you ought to look out for:

Soft, white bread, buns and rolls

The white variety of bread, buns and rolls are made up of simple carbohydrates and when these are exposed to the action of saliva in the mouth, they are quickly broken down into sugars. In turn, these sugars rapidly get converted into sugar acids, eating away at the tooth enamel. These foods have another property when wet, they tend to grow very sticky and this means, they are more likely to stay lodged within the mouth for longer, causing greater damage. If your kid is in the habit of eating these starchy foods with jam, the problem is worse, because the jam is a concentrated source of sugar and sticky as well, and can greatly enhance the risk of dental cavities.

Pasta, pizza and burgers

Pasta and pizza the favourite snack of most kids nowadays is made mainly of plain flour or maida; this is very low in fiber and nutrient content and therefore, does not provide much nutritional value. Unfortunately, it is made up almost entirely of simple carbohydrates that easily get converted into sugar and then, sugar acids. The pizza and burger may contain some vegetables but they are very less in proportion to the starch content and thus, any benefit they may provide is offset by the starchy content.

Fruit juice

Fruit juice contains fruit, but it also contains an unhealthy amount of sugar that is added to make the juice tasty. When children drink fruit juice, some of it stays stuck to the surface of the teeth and over time, gets converted into sugar acids.

Soft drinks and sports drinks

Like fruit juice, soft drinks and sports drinks too contain a large quantity of sugar and this is bad for the teeth. What makes them worse is the fact that they have fewer minerals and nutrients as compared to the fruit juice. Soft drinks of the cola variety also contain caffeine and this can be very stimulating for kids who first feel highly energetic and as the effect wears off, they get extremely exhausted, too.

Chocolates, candies, lollipops

Most kids snack on candies, lollipops and chocolates and these are one of the major culprits when it comes to dental cavities. Not only do they contain a lot of sugar, these also stay in the mouth for a long time and therefore, tend to form a sticky film on the teeth. As the bacterial in the mouth get to act on the sugar, there is a greater probability of the sugar acid getting in intimate contact with the tooth, increasing the chances of decay. Gummy candies and chocolates find their way towards the molars where the child sucks on them slowly; this area is not as accessible during brushing and it is highly likely that the sticky mass stays stuck to the tooth for much longer, leading to tooth decay.

In other words, although we are witnessing a sea change in the food habits of kids today, it is important to recognize that modern foods are a danger to dental health because they can cause cavities. Indeed, a recent survey conducted by the market research firm GFK Mode shows that Indian mothers as well as dentists are increasingly concerned about the prevalence of cavities in children.

Commissioned by Colgate-Palmolive (India) Limited, the survey found that not only modern day foods but also everyday foods like rice, dal and fruits that lodge within the mouth and produce sugar acids are responsible for cavities. Therefore, it is vital to have some method of combating these sugar acids and this is where Colgate Maximum Cavity Protection plus Sugar Acid Neutralizers can help. This toothpaste fightssugar acids by neutralizing them and therefore, brushing with it helps in keeping cavities away.

References

http://raisingchildren.net.au/articles/tooth_decay.html

http://www.kidsdentist.com/Prevention/How-to-Prevent-Cavities.aspx

http://www.whattoexpect.com/toddler/foods-and-drinks-that-can-cause-tooth-decay-in-children.aspx

http://www.parents.com/advice/big-kids/hygiene/which-foods-cause-cavities/

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