Just another sugary snack: Yogurt increases risk of tooth decay in children; experts say snacking in general is bad for dental health
01/21/2018 // Michelle Simmons // Views

Sugary snacks increase the risk of tooth decay in children, while tooth brushing does not completely help protect their teeth from the effects, according to a study. The study was carried out by a team of researchers from the University of Edinburgh and the University of Glasgow who analyzed the relationship of snacking and oral health.

In the study, the research team analyzed 3,832 children aged between two and five years old. They assessed their oral hygiene routines, which included questions on how frequently they brush their teeth, whether they brush before sleeping, and how often they go to the dentist for check-ups. In addition, they examined the participants' snacking habits.

The research team discovered that children who snack all day but do not eat proper meals are twice more at risk of developing tooth decay. They also found that eating yogurt, in particular, in between meals increases the children's risk of getting tooth decay. On the other hand, they found that eating fruits reduces the risk of developing it.

Results also showed that those who brush their teeth less than once a day or not at all at two years old are twice more likely to develop tooth decay when they turn five, compared to those who brush their teeth twice a day or more.

Moreover, parents also have a role in the oral hygiene of the children. The study revealed that those children whose parents feel they lack control over what their children eat have more chance of having tooth decay.

“Our results indicate that consumption of soft drinks, sweets and chocolates should be reduced to protect against dental decay, however, there are also changes required in relation to dietary practices more generally,” said Valeria Skafida of the University of Edinburgh, lead author of the study.


Skafida said that the study's findings, which were published in the Journal of Public Health, indicate that tooth brushing does not entirely reduce the impact of sugary snacks on dental decay outcomes in children below five years old.

Tips for a healthier and stronger teeth

Train your child to practice healthy oral hygiene as early as today because their teeth are important for chewing food and helping them speak clearly. Furthermore, they help give shape to the face and guide permanent teeth into place. (Related: Reversing the trend of childhood tooth decay: How parents can make lifestyle changes to improve the health of their children's teeth.)

To keep your child's teeth strong and healthy, follow these tips:

  • Limit or avoid sugary snacks – Learn to control your child's diet. Limit foods that cause cavity, such as cookies, candy, and crackers, as well as sugary drinks like juice, energy drinks, sport drinks, and soda. Instead, feed them healthy snacks, such as fresh fruits and cheese.

  • Eat and drink in one sitting – Let them eat and drink in one sitting rather than drinking and snacking all day. Also, after a meal, let them drink water to wash down the food.

  • Brush teeth twice a day – Cavities can be prevented by brushing properly; brushing their teeth twice a day, for at least two minutes at a time. For children below two years old, the amount of toothpaste should be just the size of a grain of rice. Meanwhile, for ages two and above, they should be using toothpaste with the size of a pea. Moreover, it is advisable to floss once a day.

  • Go to the dentist – Visit the dentist by the time they turn one. After that, go to the dentist every year at least once.

Read more stories on dental health at Dentistry.news.

Sources include:



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