Cut the sugar to protect young teeth


Everyone loves to see their kids smile, but think how much more you’ll like it if you know their teeth are in good shape.

Sadly, our kids are more and more likely to need dental treatment. Nearly half of Australia’s kids aged 5-10 now have had at least one baby tooth affected by tooth decay.


And the problem continues for older kids. By 12 years of age, one in two children have decay in their adult teeth.

In fact, dental issues are the number one cause of admission to hospital for kids aged under 14.

Dentists say the culprit is sugar, with kids consuming far too much in their daily diet. Some of the worst offenders are sugary drinks like soft drink, cordial and juice.

Childhood decay isn’t just a matter of getting some teeth pulled and the adult teeth being there as a backup. Take it from Dr Steve Lin, author of The Dental Diet:

“In my experience I've found children who suffer from childhood decay not only suffer dental scars, but the mental scars to go along with it. There's nothing worse for a dental practitioner than to have to extract an abscessed tooth from a child. It's an experience that stays with a child for life and has long term consequences beyond their mouth.
The childhood mouth exists in a balanced equilibrium with the developing bones (jaw) and soft tissues. When a child loses a tooth due to decay, the space is often lost for the permanent teeth, which may affect the normal facial growth.”

The good news is that a low sugar life can help to improve your kids’ dental health. Cutting sugar is one of the best ways to protect their teeth, saving them from fillings and lifelong dental damage. And a healthy diet will supply enough of the essential minerals, like calcium, that keep their teeth strong.

With dental treatment sometimes costing thousands, it’s also a saving for your wallet – something that’s sure to bring a smile to your face as well.

Top tips for top teeth

  • Don’t dip – Dummies or bottles should never be dipped into anything sweet like honey
  • Don’t sip sugar – Kids should avoid soft drinks, sports drinks and fruit juices. Breastmilk or formula is best for babies. Toddlers with sippy cups or bottles are best to stick to water.
  • Brush twice – Many kids have reverted to brushing just once a day, but twice provides much more protection against the bacteria responsible for tooth decay
  • Offer tooth friendly foods – Cheese is good, and so are crunchy veggies like carrot and celery.