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Which is worse for your kid's teeth - natural or processed sugars?

Which is worse for your kid's teeth - natural or processed sugars?

Most parents know that sugar is bad for their children's teeth and causes cavities, but some foods contain processed sugars, while others have natural sugars. Today, our Smiletown North Delta dentists explain whether natural or processed sugars are worse for your kid's teeth.

How Cavities Develop

When anything containing sugar is consumed, the bacteria in our mouths break it down, then produce a waste product called acid.

This acid demineralizes or decalcifies the enamel on the teeth, leading to tooth decay and subsequent cavities. Natural and processed sugars feed bacteria.

Natural Sugars & Processed Sugars

Natural Sugars

Natural sugars include fructose and lactose. While fructose is found in fruit, lactose is in dairy products. The natural sugars in fruit give it that sweet, delicious flavour.

Fruit contains vitamins and minerals our body needs, protein, and fibre to stimulate saliva production, and water to help us feel full. That “full” sensation is a naturally occurring internal mechanism that tells us when to stop eating, naturally regulating our sugar intake).

Processed Sugars

Found in foods and beverages such as cookies, yogurt, juice, and soft drinks, processed sugar is refined sugar. It is worse for your child's teeth than natural sugar since it increases the sugar levels in foods. This means there will be more acid in your little one's mouth to mix with bacteria and produce cavities.

While natural sugars are balanced with water to help wash away sugars, this is not true for foods containing processed sugars, which stick to teeth.

Which type of sugar is worse for your kid's teeth?

Processed or added sugar is worse for your kid's teeth than natural sugar as it leads to more acid in their mouth. This mixes with bacteria in the mouth, causing tooth decay. Your child will also not have the balance of liquids and potentially protein or fibre to stimulate the production of saliva, which helps naturally wash bacteria away.

Dental Cleanings at SmileTown North Delta

Learning about dental hygiene and proper oral care is a critical aspect of your growing child's preventive oral hygiene routine. 

When your little one comes to SmileTown Dentistry in North Delta for their regular professional dental cleanings and checkups, our dental hygiene team will teach them how to properly care for their teeth at home. This includes giving tips on brushing technique and frequency, flossing, and how to keep the "sugar bugs" from causing trouble in the form of plaque and cavities. 

We are also happy to answer any questions you or your child may have about their dental health, preventive oral healthcare, or diet and nutrition to support a growing, healthy smile. 

Do you have more questions or want to book a hygiene cleaning for your child? Contact our dentists at SmileTown North Delta today. 

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