Consumption of food and drinks containing sugar significantly contributes to early childhood caries (cavities) and obesity. It is very important to know how much sugar your child consumes daily?
First consider the drinks containing sugar that can be purchased at schools. Obesity and dental caries are increasingly widespread pathologies amongst our children. The former is growing so rapidly that the WHO classified its trend as an “epidemic” due to high added sugar intake since childhood. Since sugars undergo fermentation and have pH lowering power, dietary sugar allows the cariogenic bacteria to damage the tooth enamel provoking the carious lesions. Dental caries are currently 45.8% among children from 2-19 years old.
Today, the average American child consumes 19 teaspoons of sugar per day. However, the American Heart Association recommends children between the ages of 2-18 to limit sugar intake to 6 teaspoons per day or less.
Our recommendation to parents is to watch the amount of sugar that your child consumes and alter it accordingly. Snacks in between we recommend to be a sugar-free snack. Veggies that are cut up to grab and snack on or cheese makes for a terrific snack!
There are many “sugar substitutes” also known as non-nutritive sweeteners used to replace sugar.
Sugar-substitutes are beneficial in overall caries reduction. Of the sugar substitutes available, we recommend using natural non-nutritive sweeteners such as sorbitol, xylitol, erythritol, tagatose and stevia (e.g., Truvia, PureVia, Sweetleaf), which are approved and recognized as safe by the FDA. There is research and a lot of questions being asked about the long term use of these natural sugars being taken over a long period of time. Until there is research to conclude the outcome, please use in small amounts when needed and stay tuned for further updates.
Child obesity continues to rise. Sweetened drinks and fast food are the largest contributors to this trend.