Nurse Visit

Today I went to see a Nurse at Massey to see if she had any information regarding the affects of sugar on our teeth, she did not have anything on her at the present but pointed me towards some places that could help.

– Dentists
– Primary school nurses
– Traveling dentists – primary schools – worst cases
– Poly High Childcare Centre

Bee Healthy Website:


– Sweets or refined sugars also are needed for tooth decay.

– When sugars are available, the bad bacteria in the mouth make acids which weaken and break down tooth enamel.

– Sugars are the fuel that drives the decay engine.

– When questioned about their children’s diet, many parents/carers respond ‘my child doesn’t eat much candy or lollies’. That may be the case. But, since sweets (sugars) appear in many hidden forms, you may be unaware of them.

– For example, fruit ‘drinks’ are sweetened with refined sugar, but fruit ‘juices’ are not. Peanut butter on toast is nutritious. Add jam to it and sugar is present that sticks to the teeth.

– The role that diet plays in tooth decay has been known for many years, yet its role continues to be under estimated.

– The following three important points should be considered:
1. The frequency of sugar intake is critical

2. The form of sugar containing food makes a difference

3. Swish and swallow

1. The frequency of sugar intake is critical

Nowadays there seems to be excessive snacking with sugar containing foods. How often your child eats or drinks sweets is just as important as the amount of sweets eaten or drunk. Teeth need a rest between meals/snacks. Aim for a two-hour eating break between meals/snacks. For parents/carers interested in measuring their child’s sugar intake, create a seven-day calendar and record food intake at meals and between meals. Be certain to record everything – including what your child drinks. If cereal is a sweetened type, this has to be recorded. If sugar is added to a food, this has to be recorded. Record everything! If items are missed, the food/drink diary will be inaccurate. At the end of the week underline with a red pen all items containing sugars. Underline or circle in a different colour the healthy foods/drinks. Count the number of different times each day that your child is eating or drinking sugar containing foods and drinks. Make your own assessment of your child’s diet. How often are sweets consumed? Is this too much? Is the diet balanced? Is your child snacking too much with sweets? Have your dental professional look at your child’s food/drink diary for advice and comments.

2. The form of sugar containing food makes a difference

Sugars consumed in sticky forms, such as chewy confections, are more harmful than sugars taken in liquid forms. It is only natural that children have sweets from time to time. Parents can help control the harmful sugar effect by guiding selection of these treats. If sticky foods are consumed, try to brush as soon as possible to remove the food debris.

3. Swish and swallow

Children (and adults) are not always in a position to brush their teeth after eating. To combat the sugar effect when you can’t brush after eating, ‘Swish and Swallow’ is recommended. Take a sip of water and swish it around the mouth before swallowing. This helps clear food debris and reduces the level of acids in the mouth.

Both dental professionals and parents/carers play a role in guiding children to form good diet habits. Dental professionals can help with dietary advice and encouragement during dental visits. Parents can help by learning more about healthy foods, by preparing balanced meals, by keeping healthy snacks readily available at home (and keeping unhealthy choices out of the home!) and by setting a good example.


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