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Keep your kids' teeth healthy this summer
Updated: 6/27/2013 12:45:07 PM

Keep your kids

The summer is now in full swing, and parents have more to worry about than simply what to do with their bored, restless kids during the long, hot days. They also have to be concerned about what their children are eating when they go to do classic summer activities. Recently, the Washington Post published an article by a woman who explained that she recently took her children to the dentist, and he warned her that the summer is the worst time for cavities because of all the unhealthy foods associated with summer events. 

The news source explained that sugary foods provide fuel for the bacteria that cause tooth decay, and the summer tends to be filled with sporting events, movies, carnivals and many other places where sugar-filled snacks play a prominent role. Furthermore, many kids brush their teeth as though they are in some sort of race to determine who can brush the fastest, which may cause them to miss leftover candy bits stuck in their teeth and increase their risk of damaging their dental health.

The worst offenders
One simple way that parents may be able to keep their kids' teeth healthy this summer is by changing their breakfast rituals. Sugary cereals are something that most kids love, but they wreak havoc on teeth. The worst part about these cereals is that many kids brush their teeth before they eat breakfast rather than after, so the sugars from their morning meal stay on their teeth until they brush them again at night. This is why parents should consider giving their kids cereal that has low amounts of sugar in it. However, parents who still want to let their kids indulge in the cereals they love every now and then should have them brush their teeth after breakfast to help eliminate some of those sugars. 

Sugary cereals are just the beginning when it comes to problem foods that could harm kids' teeth in the summer. Sticky candies that are commonly found in movie theater concession stands and baseball parks can leave bits behind that linger on the teeth longer than other snacks, making teeth more vulnerable to decay. Furthermore, long-lasting treats such as lollipops and hard candies get to spend even more time in kids' mouths and on their teeth, giving the bacteria in the mouth ample opportunity to have their own snack. 

It is important for parents to understand that it is not just candy that can harm their children's teeth. Other foods that are commonly found at carnivals and other summer events also pose a threat to teeth. For example, starchy foods such as french fries, hotdog buns and soft pretzels are converted into sugars by saliva and can potentially cause problems in the mouth. 

What can parents do?
Getting kids to eat less sugar is easier said than done. However, there are steps that parents can take that may lead to their children consuming fewer foods that are bad for the teeth. For example, Time magazine reported on a study that found that kids actually eat less sugar if they are allowed to sweeten their own cereal. Researchers from Rudd divided kids into two groups - one that ate cereal that was high in sugar, and another that ate low-sugar cereal. Then they gave the kids sugar packets and told them to use as much as they wanted. Even though the kids who ate the low-sugar cereals ended up putting much more of the granulated sugar on their food than children in the other group, they still ended up eating less sugar than kids who consumed the other cereal. 

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