How to Reduce Sugary Snacking

It’s easy to tell patients to avoid sugary snacking, but we all need reminders about how to reduce sugary snacking and limit the amount of sugar the entire family eats for good dental and overall health. Dr. Orbon, Dr. Maddox, Dr. Paula and the American Dental Association suggest you start saying good-bye to unnecessary sugar throughout the day by following these six helpful tips.

Check Labels for Sugar

Check labels for added sugar, like corn syrup and white sugar. Naturally occurring sugars in healthy choices like milk and fruit, are less worrisome.

When reading labels, you’ll see sugar is listed in grams. Since 1 tsp. of sugar equals 4 grams, aim to make sure the foods you are feeding your child fall between 12 to 50 grams a day.

Limit Juice

Because juice is high in sugar and calories, water and milk are always the best options for your little one. In fact, if your child is under 1 years old, the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests completely removing juice from his or her diet.

Older children can occasionally drink juice, but if they do, there are two things to remember:

  • Children ages 1-6 should have no more than 4-6 oz. of juice each day, according to pediatric guidelines. Children ages 7 to 18 should drink no more than 8-12 oz. (Many juice boxes are about 6 oz., so younger children should have no more than one per day, and older children no more than two.)
  • Allowing your child to sip on juice throughout the day puts him or her at higher risk for tooth decay because you’re giving that cavity-causing bacteria more opportunities to eat and produce the acid that eats away at teeth. This can also happen with juice that is watered down. “Even though the volume of sugar has decreased, you’ve added the time that it takes to drink it,” says ADA spokesperson Dr. Jonathan Shenkin.

So what’s a parent to do? Limit the amount of juice your children drink, and always offer water or milk first. If your child does drink juice, serve the recommended, age-appropriate limits at mealtimes only. Avoid drinking juice outside of mealtimes and rinse with water when possible.

Skip the Soda

One can of soda has 3 times the daily recommended amount of sugar for a child. In fact, a February 2016 study in the Journal of the American Dental Association found a strong association between sugary drinks and poor dental health in teenagers. Researchers asked teens 14-19 in Mexico about how many sugary beverages they drank, then examined their teeth. They found 31.7% had tooth erosion, which means their enamel had been eaten away. The main culprit? Soda.

Be Picky About Sticky Snacks

Avoid raisins and gummy or sticky fruit snacks are more like candy and stick to teeth even after rinsing.

Serve Crackers and Chips with Care

Crackers and chips taste great, but they stick to your teeth and break down into sugar. Try and substitute crunchy carbs with jicama, apples and celery.

Lead by Example

Help change your child’s snacking habits by changing your own. Eat well, brush twice a day for two minutes and floss between your teeth once a day.

Keep up with your healthy habits for a great 2021!

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