Be Careful with Sugar!
If you are like most parents, you might be concerned about how much sugar your child is eating. With childhood obesity rates skyrocketing and new research uncovering the hidden dangers of sugar consumption, parents today need to be more careful than ever before. Here are just a few dangers of excess sugar consumption in kids, what changes you can make at home, and how your Indianapolis pediatric dentist can help your family to eat healthier.
The Dangers of Excess Sugar Consumption in Kids
The human mouth is filled with bacteria that feed off of the simple sugars in the foods that you eat. As these bacteria grow and multiply, they create acids that erode dental enamel and toxins that inflame gum tissue, causing problems like dental decay, pain, swelling, and even childhood gingivitis. The more sugar your child consumes, the faster these bacteria can cause damage. To prevent tooth decay, parents should be focused on limiting sugar and improving daily oral hygiene routines—whisking away plaque and bacteria.
Sugar is packed with empty calories, fueling the childhood obesity epidemic in the United States. In fact, one in three children in our country are overweight, making it harder to run, play, and fit in with other kids. Sugar also causes childhood obesity because it causes the blood to flood with insulin, blocking a hormone that tells the brain that you are full. For this reason, kids who eat a diet high in sugar are more likely to overeat in general.
Sugar doesn’t contain any vitamins or minerals that your child needs to be healthy, which is why diets high in sugar often lead to malnourishment. Kids who don’t receive the protein, vitamins, and minerals that that they need everyday might be more likely to get sick and lack energy.
Research has shown that sugar can also cause brain fog, making it harder for kids to concentrate in school and learn key concepts. Long-term excessive sugar intake has also been associated with cognitive decline in adults, and may be tied to degenerative neurological conditions like Alzheimer's Disease.
Tips for Limiting Your Kid's Sugar Intake
Fortunately, parents can do a lot to limit their children’s intake by making a few changes around the house. Here are some tips for limiting your kid’s sugar intake to protect their teeth and their overall health.
Don't Bring it Home
In order to keep your kids from eating sugary foods, focus on keeping it out of your house. Avoid the cookie and candy aisle in the store, and don’t keep ice cream in the freezer. Instead, keep ingredients for cookies and cakes around the house, and make them for special occasions only.
Provide Plenty of Healthy Snacks
When your child eats less sugar, they will enjoy foods that are naturally sweeter like fresh fruits. To satisfy your child’s sweet tooth without offering cookies or candy, keep fresh sliced or peeled fruit in individual containers in the fridge.
Limit the Juice and Sugary Drinks
Your child might love juice, but it might be fueling their addiction to sugar. Pay attention to how much sugar is in the juices and drinks you offer your child, and avoid offering beverages that are high in sugar. Instead, give your child their own water bottle and encourage them to stay hydrated.
Make Treats a Treat
All too often, parents give their children too many treats, when the fact of the matter is that these extras should be offered infrequently. Focus on making treats a treat, and don’t keep them around where kids could discover them and indulge.
Talking With Your Pediatric Dentist and Pediatrician
In order to make sure that your kids haven’t already been adversely affected by excess sugar intake, schedule medical and dental checkups with your Indianapolis pediatric dentist regularly. Pediatric dentists like the team at The Children’s Dental Center can make your children feel right at home, all while carefully evaluating and treating their teeth. If your child has tooth decay caused by sugar, don’t panic. The Children’s Dental Center offers a wide range of restorative dentistry techniques in addition to preventive dentistry like sealants, which can help return your child to dental health. Schedule your child’s next checkup today.