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Which is worse for your kid's teeth - natural or processed sugars?

Most parents know that sugar is bad for their children's teeth and causes cavities. But while some foods contain processed sugars, others have natural sugars. Which is worse for your kid's teeth, and what can we do to prevent decay? Our Smiletown Burnaby dentists explain in this post.

How do cavities develop?

When we eat anything containing sugar, the bacteria in our mouths consume it, then produce a waste product called acid.

This acid demineralizes or decalcifies the enamel on the teeth, leading to tooth decay and subsequent cavities. Natural and processed sugars feed bacteria.

What are natural sugars and processed sugars?

Natural Sugars

Natural sugars include fructose and lactose. While fructose is found in fruit, lactose is in dairy products. The natural sugars in fruit give it that sweet, delicious flavour.

Fruit contains vitamins and minerals our body needs, protein and fibre to stimulate saliva production, and water to help us feel full. That “full” sensation is a naturally occurring internal mechanism that tells us when to stop eating, naturally regulating our sugar intake).

Processed Sugars

Found in foods and beverages such as cookies, yogurt, juice and soft drinks, processed sugar is refined sugar. It is worse for your child's teeth than natural sugar since it increases sugar levels in foods. This means there will be more acid in your little one's mouth to mix with bacteria and produce cavities.

While natural sugars are balanced with water to help wash away sugars, this is not true for foods containing processed sugars, which stick to teeth.

Which type of sugar is worse for your kid's teeth?

Processed or added sugar is worse for your kid's teeth than natural sugar as it leads to more acid in their mouth, which mixes with bacteria to cause tooth decay. Your child will also not have the balance of liquids and potentially protein or fiber to stimulate production of saliva, which helps naturally wash bacteria away.

Dental Cleanings at SmileTown Burnaby

Learning about dental hygiene and proper oral care is a critical aspect of your growing child's preventive oral hygiene routine. 

When your little one comes to SmileTown Dentistry in Burnaby for their regular professional dental cleanings and checkups, our dental hygiene team will teach them how to properly care for their teeth at home. This includes giving tips on brushing technique and frequency, flossing and how to keep the "sugar bugs" from causing trouble in the form of plaque and cavities. 

We are also happy to answer any questions you or your child may have about their dental health, preventive oral healthcare or diet and nutrition to support a growing, healthy smile. 

Do you have questions about your child's dental health or which foods are good or bad for their teeth? Contact our dentists at SmileTown Burnaby today

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