Sugar Affects More than Dental Health
Sugar is something that most of us have come to love. If it is not in what we eat, we add it in something – whether it is in our coffee, cereal, or desserts, America loves sugar. A problem with this is that our kids are eating too much sugar, too – even more than the adults. The effects of too much sugar mean that their physical health and dental health are being impacted in many serious ways.
Daily Sugar Intake
A couple of years ago, in 2014, the World Health Organization lowered the recommended amount of sugar that people should eat. The recommended sugar intake for an adult is now at five percent of your daily sugar value. It was previously at 10 percent.
The American Heart Association says that this means that an adult woman with a normal body mass should get about six teaspoons of sugar (100 calories) per day. An adult man should get about nine teaspoons per day (150 calories).
Sugar and Health of Children
Even while adults may be trying to limit their sugar intake per day, many of the foods that children eat now have even more sugars being added. The increased sugar in American diets has caused considerable weight gain in our children. Over time, it is also responsible for health issues such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and ADHD.
Child Sugar Intake
The average child now eats about 19 teaspoons of sugar per day. That is three times what an adult woman should eat – and they have much smaller bodies. They consume sugar in so many things, including sodas and fruit drinks, candy, cereals, ice cream, bread, desserts, and much more. One coke has nine teaspoons of sugar in it.
Doctors recommend that children under the age of two should not eat anything with added sugars. Researchers have discovered that 99 percent of the children in a study who were between 19 and 23 months old were consuming more than seven teaspoons of sugar every day.
As far as a child’s overall health is concerned, the effect of too much sugar over a long period as a child is serious. In 1994, only five percent of kids were diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. Now, it is as many as 30 to 50 percent of children. This also means that heart disease starts earlier, too.
Sugar and Teeth
When thinking about how much sugar per day a child should have, it is also a good idea to understand the impact sugar will have on their teeth. Each child has a certain amount of bacteria in his or her mouth. Some of it is good, and other bacteria are not. The bad bacteria that cause cavities and gum disease feed on sugar.
The bad bacteria harm the teeth and gums because it produces acid when it comes in contact with sugar and carbs. It will continue to produce acid for up to 20 minutes after it consumes sugar. This means that with each sip of a soda that the teeth are exposed to acid for the next 20 minutes.
Too Much Sugar
As children get used to sugary foods and drinks, it is not surprising that they do not like healthy foods that may not taste nearly as sweet. This includes vegetables and fruit. Children are coming down with many more illnesses than they used to, and it is likely due to increased sugar and a lack of proper nutrition. Nutrition is necessary to help strengthen the immune system and fight off everyday bacteria and other health issues.
The number one reason that people lose their teeth today is that of periodontitis. This serious gum disease is present in about 50 percent of people over the age of 30, according to the CDC.
Periodontitis is rather easy to prevent when it is in the very early stages. At that time, it is called gingivitis. All that is needed to get rid of gingivitis is to brush your teeth twice a day for about two minutes and to floss daily.
Without proper care of your teeth, gingivitis becomes periodontitis. It is the same bacteria, the only difference is that it has been permitted to continue its harmful and destructive methodology of eroding the gums and even the jaw bone that holds the teeth in place.
How to Preserve Teeth
Children need to be taught to protect their teeth, starting while they are very young. The harmful bacteria forms a film on the teeth every day called tartar. Remember that sugar feeds the harmful bacteria. Brushing and flossing on a daily basis needs to be instilled in them to help prevent gum disease and enable them to keep their teeth longer.
Consuming much less sugar is also a must. The best way to make the swap from too much sugar to healthy eating is to check the food labels. Parents should also set the example by eating healthy foods.
Getting regular dental checkups is another important key to protecting teeth. Dental problems such as cavities can be spotted early and treated.
If you live in the Carrollton, Cedar Hill, Dallas or Grapevine, TX areas, your children can have their teeth examined by ToothHQ Dr. Kumar T. Vadivel, DDS, FDS RCS, MS MBA, a Board-certified Periodontist. In addition to exams and general dental work, he is also a cosmetic dentist and performs dentistry for the whole family. In order to get more information about his services, or to set up an appointment, you can call his office today at 214-731-0123