Hidden Dangers of Your Childhood Staples

We all want to ensure good health for our children. But did you know that many of the things we think are healthy for our children can actually do more harm than good?

Take, for example, fruit juice – it sounds healthy, but fruit juices lose many of their essential nutrients, which are found in the skin and pulp, during the juicing process. The skin and pulp also provide much needed fiber content. The fruit juices found in most supermarkets contains only a small percentage of real fruit juice and often have added sweeteners and high fructose corn syrup.

Raisins are also a childhood staple that are thought to be good to give kids as a snack. We often hear raisins referred to as “the world’s healthiest food,” however most pediatric dentists would disagree with this statement. Since raisins are high in sugar and very sticky, they are high on the list of risk factors for cavities.

It can be tempting to let your child fall asleep with a bottle of milk or juice, but this also can have serious consequences for little mouths. Prolonged exposure to the fermentable carbohydrates in milk, juice, formula and soda can cause severe decay, often called “bottle rot.” Children with severe bottle rot often need dental restorations or extractions.

The good news is that if you take proper care of your child’s teeth, cavities are nearly 100 percent preventable. Here are just a few tips to help keep your baby or child cavity-free:

  • Take your children to the dentist by age 1.
  • Avoid sharing toothbrushes, bottles, spoons and straws to protect babies and children from the transfer of cavity-causing bacteria.
  • From birth, wipe your baby’s gums with a damp washcloth or soft infant toothbrush after meals.
  • As soon as the first tooth erupts, begin brushing with a small, soft-bristled toothbrush and water at least once a day, preferably before bedtime.
  • Avoid putting your child to bed with a bottle of milk, juice, sweetened water or soft drinks – instead fill it with water.

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