Sugar-free treats can help reduce the risk of cavities, but not all sugar-free sweets are free of the risk of promoting decay. Your family dentist can provide guidance about what types of snacks are healthiest for your child as well as those least likely to promote decay.
Sugar-Free versus Cavity-Free
Whether a sugar-free treat can lead to cavities depends upon how it is sweetened. Most artificial sweeteners do not promote tooth decay because bacteria do not feed on them as they do sugar. However, eating even sugar-free treats can prevent your child from eating the nutritious foods she needs to stay healthy. Filling up on treats of any kind is detrimental to good nutrition.
Some foods, even though they have no refined sugar, can still promote tooth decay. Fruit is a healthy snack, as is milk, but the natural sugars found in these foods encourage bacteria to grow in the mouth just like refined sugar does. This is why small children should not be allowed to drink apple juice or milk out of a bottle for long periods of time. The result is often extensive decay, tooth loss, and long-term alignment problems.
Whether a sugar-free treat can lead to cavities depends upon how it is sweetened.
Dental Health and Proper Nutrition
Proper nutrition is important to the health of your mouth and teeth as well as to the health of your body overall. Calcium is important to proper development of teeth and can also help re-mineralize tooth surfaces in the very early stages of decay. A healthy diet that includes fruits, vegetables, and whole grains helps keep your immune system strong and effective, reducing the chance of infection and making it easier to heal from illness.
Sugar-free gum is one treat that can actually help your teeth stay healthier. When you chew gum, it can remove small particles of food from the tooth surfaces. Chewing gum also stimulates saliva production, which helps wash sugars out of the mouth and helps maintain the appropriate acid levels in the mouth. Ask our family dentist what kind of sugar-free treats are best for your child by calling 817-465-0355 today.