Here at Mountain View Pediatric Dentistry, we talk about “sugar bugs” often, and teach children how to keep their teeth clean.
Excessive sugar intake can cause a variety of problems. When a child develops the habit of eating a lot of sugary treats, they are likely to continue to do so throughout their life. Some of these issues may not immediately impact their health, but they certainly will over time. Excessive sugar intake is linked to tooth decay, diabetes, heart disease, weight gain, and many additional problems.
Children often consume far more sugar than is healthy, and it can be
difficult to help them reduce their sugar intake. Below are some ideas to
cut back on sugar that they may not even notice!
Read Labels Carefully
It is important to read all the labels on the food you give to your children. Much of the sugar that they consume is hidden in foods that you wouldn’t expect. Sugar and variations of sugar like corn syrup or artificial sweeteners are often in various sauces, some soups, and other processed foods. It is important to examine labels and choose low sugar or non-sweetened options. Be cautious with foods that are marketed as low-fat or fat-free. These foods tend to have excessive amounts of sugar in them.
Take it in Steps
It will likely be incredibly difficult to force your child to quit eating sugar cold turkey. When sugar is taken away, many children are resistant and resentful, and will indulge excessively whenever they are able to. However, taking it in steps tends to produce long-lasting results. For example, give them half as much ice cream as you previously would or cut a piece of cake in half. They may not even notice the reduction, but it will substantially reduce their sugar intake.
Encourage Water Drinking
A significant amount of sugar comes from drinking beverages that are high in sugar or corn syrup. Encouraging them to drink water, instead of soda or juices is a natural way to decrease sugar in their diet. You may want to add natural flavoring to make the water more appealing to them. Developing a habit of hydration gives them health benefits over a long period of time.
Replace with Natural Foods
The more your children consumes sugar, the more they will crave sweet treats. You can replace these with natural foods to meet their sugar-related needs! Fruit, honey, cinnamon, and other foods can be much more beneficial than foods that contain processed sugars. Adding honey or fruits to oatmeal makes breakfast that is far healthier than most popular breakfast cereals.
It can be a difficult process to convince your children to eat less sugar. Remaining consistent throughout the process is important for long-
term success. When you give up, they are likely to relapse in sugar consumption. By staying consistent, their taste buds will adapt to their new diet and it will be less of a struggle. They may even move away from eating processed sugars, because they will start to taste far too sweet.
Remove from the House
One of the best ways to reduce your children’s sugar intake is by removing sugar from the house. When sugar simply isn’t available, it is less likely that your child will get into it or convince you to cave in. Without sugar in the house, it will require a trip to the store to obtain unhealthy, sugary foods. This often gives you enough time to reconsider and make healthier choices.
Make it Difficult to Access Sugar
The easier it is for your child to access sugar, the more likely it is that they will eat large amounts of sweets. Storing them in places that high and out of reach, or in a locked cabinet will prevent children from eating sugar when you don’t realize they are.
Set a Bedtime
When your child enough sleep, they are less likely to turn to sugar to provide an energy spike. Setting a bedtime for your child will go a long way toward ensuring that they are able to obtain adequate levels of sleep. Kids need a significant amount of sleep to remain healthy and happy. In addition, a routine, implemented by a regular bedtime, will prevent children from eating sugary snacks every night before going to bed.
Modify Baking Recipes
There are many changes that you can make while baking in order to ensure a healthier final product. In most situations, these changes will have minimal or no impact on the taste. Agave, organic maple syrup, unsweetened applesauce, and medjool dates are great sugar replacements in many recipes. This will drastically reduce the total amount of sugar in the final product. You can also simply reduce the amount of sugar that the recipe calls for. Consider adding dark chocolate rather than milk chocolate. The higher the cocoa content of the chocolate, the less sugar is usually present.
Here at Mountain View Pediatric Dentistry, we use many of the services that you need to improve the overall health of your child’s teeth. Nutrition has a huge impact on the health of the teeth. In order to strengthen the teeth, prevent cavities, and implement better oral health, reducing sugar consumption may be necessary. Several of these steps can be implemented easily without a large lifestyle change. These steps can go a long way toward improving your child’s health and reducing their overall sugar intake. To learn more about how to protect the overall health of your child’s teeth, contact our team at Mountain View Pediatric Dentistry today!