Refined carbohydrates break down into simple sugars which linger in the mouth. This makes them just as bad as sugary sweets when it comes to children's oral health.
What are refined carbohydrates?
Plant-based foods that have had their whole grain extracted through a refining process are called refined carbohydrates. The refining process removes fibre and most of the nutritional value from the food.
Examples of refined carbohydrates include white bread, pasta, and crackers.
Why are refined carbohydrates bad for teeth?
Refined Carbohydrates are linked to tooth decay and cavities because when the starches in white flour linger in the mouth for an extended period of time, they break down into simple sugars.
These simple sugars are what the bacteria in the mouth thrive on, and when they feed on them, they convert them into acids. These acids eat away at the enamel and dentin of the teeth, causing decay.
In the end, this means that refined carbohydrates are often just as harmful for your teeth as candy is.
What should my child eat instead?
Since carbohydrates are still an important source of energy and nutrients, try introducing less processed sources of carbs into your child's diet. Carbohydrates and grains that have not been processed are called unrefined, or whole, grains.
Whole grains still have their natural nutritional value because they haven't undergone a refining process. They’re full of many oral health-friendly nutrients that will help preserve your child’s dental health.
Some great sources of Whole Grain Carbohydrates include
- whole wheat bread, pasta and crackers
- wild rice