Category Archives: Article

Sugar: the New Cocaine

*See list of future topics at the bottom of this page. Feel free to offer suggestions.

Just Say “No”

Soft drinks! Fruit drinks! Candy! Kids love it. Kids love it all. What are they full of? Sugar!

Oh, and those “healthy smoothies.” They’re fruit smoothies, right? And they put vitamins in them, right? Well, they turn out to be vitamin enriched, extra-large cups of sugar.

What about bread? It’s good to eat your grains, right? High fructose corn syrup (a form of sugar) is in most bread. It’s in your sauces. It’s in almost everything. Even that low-fat chocolate milk your child drinks with his lunch. And don’t think baby is exempt! There just might be as much sugar in your baby formula as there is in that can of soda.

What makes sugar such a difficult problem? It’s addictive. It’s even addictive in the same way cocaine is. Sugar stimulates the exact same pleasure center of the brain. Have you’ve ever tried to break your sugar addiction? You may  have experienced something like withdrawals! Which probably surprised you, because we don’t think of sugar as having that kind of control over our body. But it does. We love it. You, and your children, are hooked on it. So much so, that on average, each of us are consuming more than 140 pounds of sugar per year.

No wonder our general health is so poor! Sugar is in everything being marketed to us. Everything convenient, cheap, and yes, even so-called healthy foods can be chock full of sugar. And what does the dentist always tell you is bad for your teeth? Sugar! So, all of this sugar in our food spells disaster for our teeth (and immune system, and weight, and heart, ad infinitum).

What can you do? A good habit to begin is reading the ingredients of whatever you purchase and plan on eating. It’s easy to overlook. We simply don’t think about it. We don’t take the time to consider what’s in our food. We buy and eat without thinking. But we must start. And thankfully all products must have the ingredients listed. We don’t have to look very far! So simply flip the package over, and read the ingredients. You’ll very likely be shocked at how many food products contain sugar. You’ll probably find yourself thinking, “Is that even necessary? Why is there sugar in this?” The simple fact is, sugar sells, and the more harmful kinds are cheaper.

In addition to habitually reading the ingredients on the package, here’s a related hint: did you know that ingredients are listed from greatest to the least? That means the ingredient that comes first is the largest in quantity, and the further down you go the lesser quantity the ingredients are. How many foods do you regularly consume where sugar is at the top of the list? If you were go to your shelves, cupboard, or refrigerator right now and look, you might be surprised.

Here’s a way to recognize sugar in the ingredients: “OSE” = sugar. Glucose, fructose, lactose, and the really bad ones, sucrose and high fructose corn syrup. Those are all sugars. Aside from fructose being toxic and detrimental to your overall health, we’re specifically concerned with the negative effects on our oral health.

What does sugar consumption mean for your mouth? Sugar provides a feast for oral bacteria. When they dive into their sugary treat, the by-product is acid. And acid is what eats away at the minerals in your teeth. Now you have tooth decay.

So here’s a wise rule of thumb: don’t eat anything with sugar in the top five spots of a list of ingredients. If you’re constantly consuming those foods, you’re constantly eating something that’s mostly sugar. Consequently, you’re making the bacteria in your mouth very happy, producing lots of acid, and demineralizing your tooth enamel.

What about your kids? This is USA Children’s Dental Foundation, after all.

What should you do if your child is eating sugary, tooth decaying foods? Rinse! Simply drinking water afterwards will help.

A big thing you can do is help your children develop their taste buds. Yes, it is possible. And in fact, it’s already happened! That’s why children gravitate towards sugary foods. Blame that sugar in the baby food and baby formula! The good news is, you can condition taste buds in the other direction, away from excessive and harmful sugars. Help your kids appreciate natural sweetness, present in whole foods.

So when you slowly do away with all of those high-sugar foods (sugar at the top of the ingredients list), the transition will be easier. Your children could appreciate already the natural flavor, without needing it enhanced by over-the-top sugar quantity. Sure, it won’t be a perfectly happy transition, but the benefits of healthy teeth and healthy smile will be well worth the effort. It’s truly a long-term investment.

Why should you trust or listen to us? We are a unique and to our knowledge the only national children’s dental foundation of our kind. We are a 501(c)(3), which is a non-profit, run exclusively by the parents, for the benefit of the children.

For more valuable information, give us your best email address to receive free, no obligation videos to protect and care for your children. Go to (if you have not already) USACDF.info

Future Articles:

  • 2 Steps to Get Your Child Flossing
  • Ask the Dentist to Explain
  • Who Owns Your Pediatric Dentist?
  • Don’t Lie to the Dentist
  • Children’s dental disease connection with Respiratory Disease
  • Children’s dental disease connection with Heart Disease
  • Children’s dental disease connection with Osteoporosis
  • Mom’s dental disease connection with premature birth

If you have concerns, from how to find a dentist, how to know when to get a second opinion, how dental disease affects your children’s health, please submit a request via comment or email.

For submitting a suggestion, you’ll receive a free gift.

Share!

Dental Health and Overall Health

*See list of future topics at the bottom of this page. Feel free to offer suggestions.

Children’s Dental Alert!

You have a pretty good idea of what it means to stay healthy. At least at the intellectual level, you know what you need to do. Your parents told you not to live on candy and soda, and to wear sunscreen. Your teachers told you not to eat too much junk food and to get plenty of sleep. Your doctor has told you to watch the cholesterol, exercise more, and not smoke. And all those commercials have told you to way too many things about eating healthier! Eat plenty of vegetables. Keep the sugar under control. Eat organic. Don’t drink so much. Take these vitamins.

The list goes on about things we know to maintain our overall health.

Now, whether we all actually do these things is another matter! But, the point is, we have an idea about how to stay healthy, overall. We know how to maintain general health.

But, there’s another element that you probably didn’t think of.

Did you know that your oral health affects your overall health? Who thought that the state of your teeth could be a factor?

According to the Mayo Clinic, there’s a close relationship between dental health and your overall health.

They say that our oral health could in fact contribute to various diseases and conditions, such as:

Endocarditis. This scary-sounding word actually is. It’s an infection of the inner lining of your heart (the endocardium). Endocarditis usually happens when bacteria or germs from some other part of the body travels via the bloodstream and then attach to damaged areas in the heart. And where might these bacteria come from? That’s right: your mouth. Normally bacteria in your mouth doesn’t enter your bloodstream. But if you have gum disease (resulting in bleeding gums), that’s an open door for the bacteria to step right in and take a ride. And if your immune system is weak, that bacteria in your bloodstream survives the journey and may cause an infection in another part of your body. In this case, damaged heart valves.

Research has also shown a possible association between oral infections and poorly controlled diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and premature birth.

Diabetes. People who have chronic gum disease, especially, have a harder time controlling their blood sugar levels. Therefore, regular periodontal care can improve control of your diabetes.

Cardiovascular disease. Apparently heart disease, clogged arteries, and stroke might be linked to the inflammation and infections caused by oral bacteria.

Premature birth. Periodontitis has been linked to premature birth and low birth weight. The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that as many as 18% of preterm, low birth-weight babies born in the United States each year may be attributed to oral infections. That’s huge.

Such are some of the ways that our mouths, and how healthy we’re keeping them, affect the rest of our bodies. It’s sobering to realize such a small part of your body can cause such big trouble.

But the effects go the other direction, as well. According to the Mayo Clinic, your overall health might affect your oral health, including:

Diabetes. Diabetes reduces your body’s resistance to infection. Naturally, this would compromise the resistance of your mouth, putting your gums at risk. Gum disease appears to be more frequent and severe among people who have diabetes.

HIV/AIDS. Oral problems, such as painful mucosal lesions, are common in people who have HIV/AIDS. Actually, HIV may first become apparent as lesions or other oral problems. According to the Academy of General Dentistry, more than 90% of all systemic diseases produce oral signs and symptoms.

Osteoporosis. That condition where your bones are weak and brittle might be linked with periodontal bone loss and tooth loss. Drugs used to treat osteoporosis carry a small risk of damaging jawbones, too.

Alzheimer’s disease. Worsening oral health is prevalent as Alzheimer’s disease progresses.

It seems there’s a reciprocal relationship between the mouth and the rest of the body. After thinking on that for a minute, it should make sense. Your mouth doesn’t exist in isolation. Rather, it is part of the whole. How much you care for, or neglect, your oral health will affect the health of your body. Just as weakening general health could result in poor oral health.

The Mayo Clinic adds a few other conditions that might be linked to oral hygiene: eating disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, head and neck cancers, and Sjogren’s [pronounced shœ̅-ˌgren(z)] syndrome (an immune system disorder that causes dry mouth).

Who knew that oral health was so vital! It’s not just something tangental, or something of low importance. It’s connected to how the rest of your body is doing. That’s even more incentive to maintain good dental hygiene for yourself and your family.

To invest in your oral health is to invest in your overall health.

Do you have any experience of poor oral health having negative effects on your overall health? Come share and join the discussion at our Facebook page.

You can learn more from USA Children’s Foundation

Why should you trust or listen to us? We are a unique and to our knowledge the only national children’s dental foundation of our kind. We are a 501(c)(3), a non-profit, run exclusively by the parents, for the benefit of the children.

For more valuable information, give us your best email address to receive free, no obligation videos to protect and care for your children. Go to (if you have not already) USACDF.info

Links:

Oral health: A window to your overall health

Oral Health and Overall Health: Why A Healthy Mouth Is Good for Your Body

What Is the Relationship Between Oral Health and General Health and Well-being?

Linkages with General Health

Future Articles:

  • 2 Steps to Get Your Child Flossing
  • Ask the Dentist to Explain
  • Who Owns Your Pediatric Dentist?
  • Don’t Lie to the Dentist
  • Children’s dental disease connection with Respiratory Disease
  • Children’s dental disease connection with Heart Disease
  • Children’s dental disease connection with Osteoporosis
  • Mom’s dental disease connection with premature birth

If you have concerns, from how to find a dentist, how to know when to get a second opinion, how dental disease affects your children’s health, please submit a request via comment or email.

For submitting a suggestion, you’ll receive a free gift.

Share!

Baby Bottle Mouth

*See list of future topics at the bottom of this page. Feel free to offer suggestions.

And simple cavity prevention.

It may help your child relax. It may be comforting to your child. It may help your child be quiet and give you some peace and quiet. It may put your child to sleep at nap time and bedtime.

But it also leads to one of the most common pediatric dental problems.

What is it?

That baby bottle.

How can that be a problem?

Sometimes parents let their child take their bottle of juice or milk to bed with them, or give their child a bottle instead of a pacifier throughout the day. It may seem to be a helpful practice, but it actually is a recipe for tooth decay.

The simple fact is, when a child is attached to a bottle full of anything other than water, tooth decay will soon follow. The sugar found in your child’s favorite tasty drink is a feeding ground for the bacteria that is already in your child’s mouth. And when that bacteria is having a feast, acid is produced. And that acid in turn attacks the teeth. It gets even worse when your child takes that bottle to bed. Saliva flow decreases during sleep. That means all that sugary fluid your child was drinking just sits there on the teeth.

“But,” you could be thinking, “I only give my child natural drinks!” Even if you’re child is not sipping on soft drinks or artificially sweetened juices, the baby bottle in bed is still not a good idea. Even natural beverages, such as natural fruit juice, milk, and baby formula have sugar in them, albeit natural sugar. It still creates a feeding ground for oral bacteria.

When the teeth are swimming in that delicious, yet tooth decaying, liquid for extended periods of time, say goodbye to enamel and hello to cavities. Hence, the consequence of your child taking their baby bottle to bed has been called “Baby Bottle Tooth Decay.”

It’s a very common problem. But there’s not just bad news, here. There is good news! Baby bottle tooth decay is very easy to avoid.

Have your child finish her drink before heading to bed. Do not allow baby to fall asleep with that drink. Even if it’s just nap time!

“But you don’t understand! My child is fussy at nap time and bedtime. She needs the bottle to calm down and go to sleep. What do I do?”

Well, in that case fill that baby bottle up with water, instead. Water is the solution to baby bottle mouth. And [Indoctrinate] the baby from the beginning, they’ll never know the difference.

It’s a simple fact that frequent and prolonged contact with sugar causes tooth decay. The solution is equally simple. Stop the frequent and prolonged contact with sugar! The less sugar throughout the day, the better.

Actually, substituting water for all sugary drinks, at all times, is a good idea and would lessen the risks of tooth decay considerably. Avoiding sugary snacks after meals certainly wouldn’t hurt, either. And your child just might fall asleep easier, as well. Sugar is an energy booster. If you give baby sugar, don’t expect them to go to sleep!

The most important rule is: never allow your child to fall asleep with any other drink besides water. It’s water, or nothing! Water is the only safe liquid for the baby bottle.

Do that, and there will be less chance of pain and infection, and less chance of needing more serious (and expensive!) dental care at the dentist’s office. Better to prevent the problem, than have to react and try to repair the damage.

Remember: healthy baby teeth lead to healthy adult teeth, and a better life. [*teaser: see our article on dental health/overall health; sugar: the new cocaine]

You can learn more from USA Children’s Dental Foundation. Here, we want a community for concerned parents to come and learn what they can do to provide the best dental care for their children. Join the discussion at our Facebook page.

Why should you trust or listen to us? We are a unique and to our knowledge the only national children’s dental foundation of our kind. We are a 501(c)(3), a non-profit organization, run exclusively by the parents, for the benefit of the children.

For more valuable information, give us your best email address to receive free, no obligation videos to protect and care for your children. Go to (if you have not already) USACDF.info

Future Articles:

  • 2 Steps to Get Your Child Flossing
  • Ask the Dentist to Explain
  • Who Owns Your Pediatric Dentist?
  • Don’t Lie to the Dentist
  • Children’s dental disease connection with Respiratory Disease
  • Children’s dental disease connection with Heart Disease
  • Children’s dental disease connection with Osteoporosis
  • Mom’s dental disease connection with premature birth

If you have concerns, from how to find a dentist, how to know when to get a second opinion, how dental disease affects your children’s health, please submit a request via comment or email.

For submitting a suggestion, you’ll receive a free gift.

Share!