Sweets and Children

Most pediatricians are now doing a good job of advising parents regarding sugar intake. The problem is, many parents are ignoring their advice. Children generally eat and drink like their parents. If parents drink a lot of soft drinks, so will the children.

It is so disturbing to be at a fast food restaurant and see 3 or 4 children in a family and all the children are having a soft drink or juice with their meal. Children should only have soft drinks with meals on special occasions. Children should normally have plain (not chocolate) milk or water with meals. An occasional soft drink at a birthday party or special occasion should be the exception.

Parents often think that juices for children are good because they are natural. Remember, sugar itself is natural, so natural is not necessarily good. Granted, when children get to a certain age, social peer pressure will dictate that they will start drinking soft drinks, but parents should limit soft drinks for as long as they can.

Candy and other sweets obviously cause tooth decay also. Many times, the children get candy from well intended grandparents and teachers as rewards. Desserts are fine as long as they are eaten right after the meal. Try to avoid sweet snacks for your children. After school, try to make the snacks something like fresh fruit or popcorn and ice water or milk.

It is very common for us to see children that are 3, 4, or 5 years old with so much extensive decay they must be referred to a pediatric dentist to go under general anesthesia to have extensive dental work done. This is entirely preventable by controlling your children’s diet. And remember, your children watch what you eat and drink, so try to set a good example.