“Sugar Free” Doesn’t Mean Healthy

Pediatric dentists and informed parents know that sugar is bad for our children’s teeth. We have to provide a balanced diet however, in order to insure that children get the nutrients that they need to grow and be healthy, which brings us to the dilemma – almost all foods contain some amount of natural sugar so it would be practically impossible to completely eliminate it from our children’s meals. What we can do is to be more diligent about reading the labels on food and beverage containers to check for the level of “ADDED SUGARS.”

Sugar is not the only thing we have to look out for when we are thinking of the health of our children’s teeth. The acidic content of some foods and drinks can eat away at the protective coating of tooth enamel that is so important in cavity prevention. Even though diet soda can legitimately claim to be “sugar free,” that doesn’t take away from the fact that it contains a high level of acid. As a matter of fact, research testing has indicated that there is little difference between the erosive effect of regular cola and that of diet. Districts across the nation have banned the sale of soft drinks in elementary and middle schools and some are considering stricter regulations in regard to diet drinks in high schools.

Citric juices may also be included on a list of beverages that can damage our children’s teeth. A separate research panel found that orange juice specifically can reduce the strength of tooth enamel. The acid content of lemon and lime juice has actually been likened to the amount found in battery acid.

So, what do dentists suggest we do? As far as beverages go, root beer appears to be the soft drink that is lowest in acid content, but white milk and plain old tap water are highly recommended.

Talk to the doctors at Epic Dentistry for Kids in Aurora to learn more about the foods and drinks that can be good for your child’s teeth and which ones to steer clear of. For more information call our office @ 720-721-3600.