Kerryn Boogaard Kerryn Boogaard
Beverly Goldsmith Beverly Goldsmith
Zoe Bingley-Pullin Zoe Bingley-Pullin

Protecting the mouths of babes:

How parents can protect children’s teeth
By Motherpedia
Date: August 05 2014
Tags: children, teeth, sugar,
Editor Rating:

Babies and toddlers are the focus of a major oral health promotion and education campaign for Dental Health Week, which runs from August 4-10.

The South Australian branch of the Australian Dental Association (ADASA) says that lack of community awareness about the sugar content in refined packaged food and drinks is putting preschoolers at risk of painful tooth decay and extractions.

And snack time is getting the majority of the blame for causing sugar intake with the ADASA saying it poses the greatest dental health risk to babies and toddlers.

“Parents want to do the right thing by their children, but many are simply unaware just how much sugar is in refined packaged snack foods,” says ADASA spokesperson, Dr Angelo Papageorgiou.

“Processed food and drinks are contributing to rising rates of tooth decay in children.”

“It is important to keep baby teeth healthy as they are preserving the space in the mouth for the adult teeth.”

Infections in baby teeth can be painful and affect the adult teeth growing underneath.

While lollies and soft drinks are the main culprits, decay-causing bacteria can use any food that contains refined sugar and carbohydrates such as savoury crackers, potato chips and snack bars.

“Even seemingly healthy snack choices can be dangerously high in sugar. For example, one 200g serve of low fat yoghurt contains seven teaspoons of sugar, as does one 250ml cup of fruit juice.”

“A child who has one serve of low fat yoghurt and one cup of fruit juice in a day could be consuming 14 teaspoons of sugar in those two items alone. In this situation full-fat yoghurt and fresh fruit is the healthier option.”

“Foods that are branded as low-fat generally contain high levels of sugar, as do fruit juice, fruit bars and  dried fruits like sultanas. While a muesli bar might seem like a healthy option, it’s essentially muesli held together with sugar.”

“While it is unrealistic to eliminate these foods completely, the ADASA encourages parents to limit processed snacks and replace them with tooth-friendly foods. These include milk, cheese, fresh fruits and vegetables, wholegrain cereals, lean meats and tap water,” said Dr Papageorgiou.

The ADASA offers the following tips to promote good dental health among babies and toddlers:

  • If your baby has a breastfeed or bottle of milk at night, gently wipe down their teeth with a moistened cloth before putting them to bed. Never allow your child to take a bottle of milk or other sugary beverage to bed.
  • Avoid giving your baby or toddler frequent snacks. Three meals and two snacks per day is sufficient to meet dietary needs.
  • Offer a diet high in fresh fruit and vegetables, wholegrain cereals, lean meats and dairy.
  • Feed your baby or toddler healthy snacks such as cheese and fresh fruit.
  • Limit sugary snacks such as lollies, sweet biscuits, fruit bars, muesli bars, dried fruit, cordials, juices and soft drinks.
  • Highly refined packaged foods such as savoury crackers and chips can have high levels of carbohydrate (sugar). Check the nutritional information panel on packaged foods to determine which have high carbohydrate and sugar levels.
  • Encourage your child to drink tap water, rather than bottled water, as much as possible so that they gain the benefits of fluoride.
  • A healthy diet must be complemented by good oral hygiene – clean your child’s teeth morning and night and schedule regular dental check-ups.
  • Schedule your child’s first visit to the dentist at 12 months of age or shortly after the eruption of the first baby teeth.
Share This Tweet This Email To Friend
Recent Comments
0 Total Comments
Post a Comment
* your email address will not appear

Please enter the word you see in the image below:

Post a Comment
* your email address will not appear

Please enter the word you see in the image below:33343

Your Comment has been posted
Related Articles
It's World Oral Health Day today and it's as good…
Read more
Does a trip to the dentist make your child nervous?…
Read more
Too much sugar in our diets is a risk to…
Read more
Choice’s latest cereal review finds many still loaded with sugar…
Read more
Cry babies

Dry your eyes!
The newest additions are on their way from the Babies who cry real tears!


Latest Tech Used In Shipping Containers
Read how the shipping industry has revolutionised

Motherpedia cover-2

Win 1 set of a 4-book hardcover illustrated boxed set
Barbara Murray’s new 4-book Sound Stories is perfect for parents and educators and could assist with NAPLAN results

Motherpedia cover (4)

Where to celebrate Oktoberfest Australia
Get ready for this celebration!

Motherpedia cover-4

A Fortnight of Foodie Experiences at East Village
A taste of East Village. What's in it for me?

Globber my too fix up cover

We Try: Globber My TOO Fix Up
A scooter that grows with your child

Throw a winning cricket pitch

3 Steps to a Winning Backyard Cricket Pitch
Ex-Adelaide Oval legend curator Les Burdett shares his tips for getting your backyard cricket pitch test match ready this summer

A bike that follows your kids life cycle - motherpedia - cover

A Bike That Follows Your Kids Life Cycle
Check out the Bunzi 2-in-1 gradual balance bike!

Moonlight lifestyle

Moonlight Cinema to bring…
Moonlight Cinema announces brand new Western Sydney venue

Screen shot 2019-11-26 at 8.29.12 am

Your Magical Christmas Wonderland…
Adventure park is about to light up the night sky with its "Christmas Festival of Lights"

Screen shot 2019-11-21 at 11.11.36 am

The Preston Market Gets…
It's time to feel pumped up for the holiday season!


Bunnings team members get…
Help raise funds by buying a snag or donating at your local store.