My Kid Rarely Eats Sweets – Why Does He Still Have Cavities?

Encourage a structured meal program and supervise their brushing at least twice a day to make sure they get rid of plaque.

Parents do their best when it comes to keeping their children healthy and teaching them good habits. Dental health is highly regarded in the US, and children are taken to the dentist early on so they can get used to being in the dentist’s chair.

Some parents also realize the great importance diet has when it comes to their children’s dental health, and are careful to exclude sweets from their diet to protect their teeth. However, these parents are very surprised when they find out that their children have cavities in spite of their efforts to keep them off sweets.

So why is that? If it’s not sweets, then what’s causing cavities in children?

Eating Foods Rich in Carbs

One habit that can lead to cavities is the type of food our children eat. Not everyone knows that it’s not only the sugar that’s bad for your teeth, but also starchy carbs. Snacks like pretzels, corn puffs or bread sticks can be just as bad for your child’s teeth. To understand this better, remember that starches have sugars that eventually turn into plaque once they reach our mouths and are processed by the bacteria there.

Starchy carbs have the tendency to be sticky when you chew them. Just think of a pretzel and how it turns into a paste-like substance that gets into your teeth’s grooves and in between. This is the kind of food we should try to avoid.

Eating Continuously Throughout the Day

Most children and teens need to eat every 3 to 4 hours during the day to fuel their growing and active bodies. However, every time your child has a snack, the bacteria in their mouth increases the acidity in their mouth. The acid, in turn, can attack the enamel that protects their teeth, causing tooth decay.

So in this scenario, it’s not necessarily what your child is eating but how often.

Alternatives to Avoid Cavities Altogether

If you have identified the culprit in your child’s diet, eliminate it immediately and replace it with something healthy. As parents, we know that it’s much easier said than done, but luckily there are amazing alternatives to starches that your child will surely love.

Instead of giving them dried fruit or products that contain dried fruit (like granola), switch to fresh fruit. Fresh fruit does not linger on the teeth for so long and has fibers that can actually help clean the teeth.

Instead of starchy food, offer them fresh vegetables, nuts, and peanuts, or dairy products (unflavored).

Encourage a structured meal program and supervise their brushing at least twice a day to make sure they get rid of plaque. When it comes to healthy habits, the power of example and persistence are the keys to success.

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Updated: May 31, 2024

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