Kids and Caries- Can Fluoride Offset Sugar?

We’ve all done it. As a mom, I give in to the free cookie at the grocery store more often than I should. I rationalize it by telling my kids they will brush their teeth when they get home. In my mind, if they brush with a fluoride toothpaste shortly after eating the sugary treat, it will balance out and, well, no harm, no foul. However, this study of children in Brazil has got me thinking.

Researchers followed a group of children from the ages of 6-18 and tracked sugar consumption and cavity rates. To no one’s surprise, the kids who ate a lot of sugar over the course of their childhood developed more decay. However, the surprising finding (to me) was the children with low sugar consumption was also related to dental caries, despite the use of fluoride.

What does that tell us? Sugar is very hard to counteract. Protective factors are great, but it isn’t a magic eraser that can undo damage done by sugar. While I still plan to make my kids brush their teeth after sugary treats, my view of the effects of my super brilliant plan have certainly changed. At CariFree we recommend children 3 and above use our elevated pH, low abrasive tooth gel for brushing twice a day to help lower the risk of future decay. It’s also important to talk to your dentist about your child’s sugar habits and if modifications are needed to help avoid cavities!

“Even the low level of sugar consumption was related to dental caries, despite the use of fluoride.”

You can find the study here; if you’re interested in reading more about fluoride,  click here.

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