Summer is a fun time for kids, and they love all those seasonal snacks. Ice cream, Popsicles, pop and candies all go down a treat. However, these nibbles that are so appealing to children can pose a significant threat to their dental health. Here, Lancaster Dental, your Kitchener dentist, looks at how you can help to safeguard your youngsters’ teeth and gums in the face of this seasonal onslaught from sugary foods.

Frozen confectionaries can be extremely tempting during a long hot summer. The problem is that they’re packed with sugar. When your children get stuck into the delights of a Popsicle or freezie, the sugars they contain latch onto the gums and teeth. These sugars then breed bacteria that eat away at tooth enamel and can quickly result in cavities.

Keep Fruit in Your Fridge

One small frozen pop may contain as much as eight grams of added sugar – about two teaspoons – which is one-third of the maximum recommended intake of added sugar per day for seven- to ten-year-olds. Plain vanilla ice cream cones contain even higher levels of added sugar.

Natural foods comprise a lot less sugar, so try tempting your kids away from unhealthy snacks by keeping fresh fruit in the fridge for them to nibble on.  The calcium in plain yogurt is good for children’s teeth, and you can make it more appealing by adding fruits or a teaspoon of natural honey.

Fruit Juice Instead of Pop

As the weather gets warmer, youngsters are much more likely to opt for a can of pop rather than quench their thirst with water. Kitchener dentist Lancaster Dental stresses that kids who drink excessive amounts of pop are greatly increasing the risk of sugar-bred bacteria wreaking havoc on their gums and teeth.

A regular can of pop can contain nearly 40 grams of sugar – about nine teaspoons – which is the maximum daily recommended amount for a full-grown man! Sodas can be particularly harmful because, besides a high sugar content, the carbonation of these drinks can also erode tooth enamel.

Offer your kids water or natural fruit juices as a healthier alternative to pop.

Dangers of Too Much Candy

When it comes to candy, your children can definitely have too much of a good thing. The two types that do most damage are those that are very tacky and ones that need sucking on a lot. Sticky candies produce bacteria as they get lodged between teeth, while harder ones stay in the mouth a long time, subjecting teeth to a constant barrage of sugar.

Try to get your kids to snack on vegetables and fresh fruit instead of candies. These natural foods contain a fraction of the amount of sugar found in candies and actually help to cleanse the mouth by acting as harmless abrasives. You can freeze grapes for a fun summer snack to satisfy your children’s sugar cravings.

Check-ups and Professional Cleaning

Kids are biologically hard-wired to have a sweet tooth, but if you can get them to view ice cream, pop and freezies as occasional treats rather than as a mainstay of their snacking diet, you’re well on the way to protecting them from gum and teeth problems.

It’s also important to make sure your children get regular dental check-ups and professional teeth cleaning, which can prevent oral health problems from taking hold.

If you need further advice on healthy alternatives to sugary summer snacks, or to arrange a dental check-up for your kids, contact Lancaster Dental.