Halloween, Valentine’s Day, Easter, and a number of other holidays have children eating large amounts of candy — not to mention birthday celebrations at school. Sugar is one of the leading causes of tooth decay for young patients, and children who eat excessive amounts of sweets or sugar added foods tend to experience a higher number of cavities.
While the consumption of sugar is hard to prevent for patients of any age, encouraging the sugar-free gum as an alternative to normal candies, is a great way to establish positive and lasting habits for your child. At Hudson Valley Pediatric Dentistry, we are committed to patients’ long term dental health and have created this guide to explain the benefits that sugar-free gum provides for children.
Less Sugar, Fewer Cavities
Sugar does not directly cause cavities but is fed upon by the oral bacteria creating acid as a byproduct. As children consume more sugar, the amount of bacteria in their smile grows, leading to greater concentration of acid. This altered pH balance leads to weakened dental enamel and eventually, allows the bacteria to reach the sensitive tissues inside the tooth.
By choosing sugar-free gums, you ensure oral bacteria have less to feed on, minimizing the risk for cavities and tooth infections.
Chewing Helps Keep Teeth Clean
The very act of chewing is essential in maintaining your dental health. This is especially beneficial for younger patients who may have difficulty properly brushing and flossing their teeth on a regular basis. Consistent chewing helps to clear food particles from the surfaces of the teeth, preventing the development of plaque and decay. Chewing also generates saliva, which is the body’s natural protection against decay keeps oral bacteria levels balanced.
Sugar Substitutes: Xylitol Strengthens Teeth
Many sugar-free gums use xylitol as a sweetener. This naturally occurring substance is entirely safe and acts in much the same way as fluoride. Xylitol remineralizes the enamel, helping to guard against decay, and leading to healthier teeth in the long term.
To learn more about the steps you can take to keep your child’s teeth healthy well into their adult years, contact Hudson Valley Pediatric Dentistry today. Dr. Geri Waldman and our team are dedicated to helping parents achieve lasting dental health.