How to cut back on sugar over the summer holidays
Enjoying a day out with the kids this summer holiday? Feel like you’re surrounded by sugary snacks left, right and centre?
Unfortunately at so many family destinations, sweet temptations are part and parcel of the experience. This also means endless demands for drinks, slushies, ice cream, sweets and chocolate.
But as well as the cost to your wallet, shelling out on sugary snacks will also come at a price for your children’s teeth.
Why are sugary snacks bad for children’s teeth?
High-sugar foods are seen as ‘empty calories’ providing few nutrients but many calories, which can lead to weight gain. The main problem with sugary snacks and teeth is that sugar causes tooth decay.
The more often it is consumed, the more sugar is used to fuel harmful bacteria that lurks in the mouth and attacks the teeth. This eventually leads to cavities.
The daily recommendations for maximum sugar intake are five teaspoons for children aged four to six years old, rising to six teaspoons for children aged seven to 10, then seven for everyone over the age of 11.
A can of fizzy pop can contain as many as seven spoonfuls of sugar – add to that a chocolate bar, which frequently contains upwards of six teaspoons of sugar, and recommended daily allowances are already doubled.
Tips to cut your child’s intake of sugar
Be strict on sweets
Cutting back on sweet treats is the best way to cut sugar consumption. It may not be an easy ride, but a habit is only supposed to take two weeks to break so stay strong! Pre-empt hunger by offering children fruit and vegetable sticks and stock up on sweet fruit such as oranges, strawberries and blueberries.
Save dried fruit for mealtimes
The process of drying fruit alters the naturally occurring sugar to become extremely sticky – and this can stick to teeth raising the risk of decay.
Avoid fizzy drinks
Fizzy drinks have no nutritional part to play in a child’s diet and the damage done to teeth as it is flushed around the mouth is unnecessary. Offer your child unsweetened fruit juice made up with water instead. Ideally get them to drink water and milk.
Read the packaging
Sugar lurks everywhere, particularly in processed food. Cooking from fresh and being ingredient-aware is an easy way to cut sugar from your child’s diet.
If your children find the temptation of sugar too much, pack up a picnic, leave your wallet at home and go to a park or beauty spot where constant demands for sugary snacks won’t spoil the day.
Don’t sugar-coat it: educating your children at an early age on the dangers of too much sugar to their dental health will stand them in good stead for life.
If you have any concerns about tooth decay contact Bhandal Dental Practice today.
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