In today’s Daily Mail (24th July 2014) journalist Thea Jourdan reveals a story about a 3 year old girl who needed root canal work on one of her back teeth and fillings in three more teeth.

Increasingly more middle-class parents are facing this problem by falling into the trap of cleverly marketed ‘healthy snacks’ which are in fact no better for dental health than the more obvious sweets and sugary drinks, resulting in numerous dental procedures being carried out.

Here are a few tips on regulating your child’s snacking habits from Dawood and Tanner’s Specialist in Paediatric Dentistry, Sara Johnstone and the team of hygienists.

  • If snacking is necessary limit them to 1 or 2 per day, make sure they are eaten within a short space of time so that the food does not sit on the teeth for extended periods. The frequency of food taken not the amount is what causes the damage to teeth. The teeth need time to be bathed in saliva and to recover from food sugars and acid attack from foods. That is why grazing is so damaging to teeth, even fresh fruit which contains natural sugars which are still just as potent in causing decay.
  • Avoid anything sweet and chewy as they spend more time sticking to the surface of your teeth. A good example is dried fruit such as raisins or “health bars”.
  • Recognise how often you are buying snacks. Some examples of good snacks are salty popcorn, cheese and calcium rich foods such as unsweetened yoghurt, rice crackers, hummus with carrots.
  • Read labels and choose foods carefully when shopping.
  • Always encourage drinking more water rather than any type of juice or flavoured drink, especially between meals. Watch out for sugar added to hot drinks.
  • Snacking on vegetables which contain vitamins and fibre also promote healthy gums.