For someone with a sweet tooth, food probably can't be sweet enough. But as far as a person's actual teeth are concerned—food can definitely be too sweet. All this extra sugar is bad news for your teeth—but it's even worse news for your children's teeth.
Dental Enamel on Teeth
Dental enamel forms the hard outer layer of your teeth. This enamel has a mineral content of 96% and is the hardest substance in your body—even stronger than your bones. Your children's dental enamel is also incredibly tough, but its composition is different in primary (baby) teeth. A child's dental enamel is thinner than yours, and so can't offer the same protection against corrosive elements, such as those produced by dietary sugar.
Bacteria in the Mouth
The human mouth contains a vast amount of bacteria. This might sound unpleasant, but this bacteria is perfectly natural. Bacteria feed on sugar and other carbohydrates that pass through the mouth. As they consume this sugar, they create an acidic byproduct that begins to decay teeth. This can largely be avoided with vigilant oral hygiene, and by limiting the amount of sugar in a person's diet.
Because your child's dental enamel is thinner than an adult's, their teeth are more vulnerable to the corrosive effects of sugar. The best way to protect their teeth depends on their age. First and foremost, schedule an appointment with a pediatric dentistry clinic as soon as your child's first tooth appears, and then attend those regular checkups. Just as with adult teeth, most of the work in maintaining baby teeth happens at home.
An Infant's Teeth
Your baby's new teeth can be lightly brushed with an appropriate toothbrush—only using water at first. It's common for young children to swallow toothpaste, and so it doesn't need to be used until your child is old enough to learn how to spit it out. Simply wiping the teeth with a medicated tooth wipe is also an option. As your child gets older, ask your dentist about sealants. These are harmless transparent resin coatings applied to teeth in order to give them an extra layer of protection.
Your child's teeth can be at risk of decay from the moment they appear, so it's best to start preventive action as soon as those teeth come in.
Contact a pediatric dentist near you to learn more about taking care of your child's teeth.