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Monday, Jan. 15, 2018

SNEAKY WAYS

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your children are at risk for cavities

Enamel is the hardest substance in the human body, but without proper diet and hygiene, enamel can be weakened by bacterial acid, which is the cause of cavities. Everyone knows candy causes cavities, but there are subtle ways your child’s diet could be putting him/her at risk for cavities.

Starchy foods – crackers, especially Goldfish and saltines, pretzels, white bread. Saliva breaks down the starch into sugar while still in the mouth. And because these foods become like glue and stick to your teeth, the acid attacks the tooth for an extended period of time.

Dried fruit – raisins, Craisins, apricots.

The drying process causes sugar to become extremely concentrated. Due to the consistency of these products, the sugar will get stuck in the grooves of teeth and linger for long periods of time.

Sports drinks – “Electrolytes” are just added sugar and salt, and sugar is often first ingredient in sports drinks. They are also highly acidic so can easily weaken enamel and cause cavities.

Fruit juice – The number one ingredient of fruit juices is sugar. In some instances, fruit juice will contain as much, or possibly more, sugar than a similar amount of soda pop. Be sure to read labels and give fruit juice in moderation.

Better options Chocolate – washes out of teeth quickly and easily.

Fresh fruits and vegetables – less concentrated with sugar and easily rinsed out of mouth.

Water – best way to hydrate after exercise, contains fluoride which fights cavities, is sugar-free.

Yogurt – high in calcium and protein, which help to keep teeth strong. Make sure to choose a low-sugar option.

Emily Neeley, DMD, is board-certified through the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry. Her focus is the treatment of children with special needs and those who are not able to receive care in a traditional dental setting. Dr. Neely is an assistant professor at LSU Health Sciences Center – Shreveport. She can be reached at 318-675-8063 located in the Oral Surgery Department at University Health, 1503 Kings Highway, Shreveport, LA.

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