Kids seriously love sugar. From cereals to candies, sugary beverages, and more — kids are bombarded with sweetness. And it’s easy for them to get addicted. But as you may know, sugar is definitely not good for your child’s teeth.
In fact, according to research published in the journal BMC Public Health, sugars are the only cause of tooth decay in kids and adults.
But guess what? You can help protect and save your kid’s mouth. Of course you want to teach them good oral hygiene, but you also want to be mindful about what they eat.
Instead of sugar, our children’s dental office in Bartonsville, Wilkes-Barre, and Scranton, Pennsylvania will give you a few of the best sugar substitutes that are safe for your child’s teeth.
Maybe you’re wondering what sugar substitutes are? They are substances used to sweeten foods and beverages instead of sugar (sucrose). You’ll find them in diet sodas, sugar-free syrup, gum, ice cream, fruit cups, light yogurt, pudding, and more.
Some awesome things about sugar substitutes:
- They have few or no calories.
- They do not cause a rise in blood sugar like regular sugar.
- Some — but not all — sugar substitutes do not cause tooth decay or cavities.
When buying foods and beverages for your child, it’s best to seek out products made with the following sugar substitutes, or use these food additives in your baking and cooking.
Xylitol. Xylitol is a natural substance found in fibrous vegetables and fruits, corncobs, and various hardwood trees, like birch. Xylitol has 40 percent fewer calories than sugar, and it helps restore PH balance in the mouth. Xylitol can reverse destructive damage done by sugar in the mouth, enhance mineralization of the enamel, and stabilize cavities. Chewing sugarless gum containing xylitol has been shown to prevent dental decay, as has eating xylitol candies.
Stevia. Stevia is a plant with sweet compounds in its leaves. This virtually zero-calorie sweetener has been shown to lessen the formation of plaque and, thus, prevent tooth decay.
Erythritol. Erythritol, a polyol (sugar alcohol), is currently used as a bulk sweetener in reduced calorie foods. It occurs naturally in fruits such as pears, melons, and grapes, as well as foods such as mushrooms and fermentation-derived foods such as wine, soy sauce, and cheese. This sugar substitute has zero calories and does not cause tooth decay. The American Dental Association has recognized this sweetener, and the FDA has approved the use of a “does not promote tooth decay” health claim in labeling for sugar-free foods that contain erythritol or other polyols.
When selecting products containing sugar substitutes for your children, it’s important to also look at the other ingredients that may cause dental erosion.
These include citric or phosphoric acids, intense sweeteners (Acesulfame K, aspartame, cyclamate, saccharin, thaumatin, neohesperidine DC), and naturally occurring sugars (fructose, glucose, and sucrose), which may all cause cavities.
And if you’re looking for a dentist office for your child in Northeast PA, look no further than Smiles 4 Keeps — a friendly and welcoming place to bring your kids, with gentle dental care and staff members who want to show your child that going to the dentist can be fun!
Find our location nearest you and make an appointment online today.