What and how often we eat can affect our teeth. Bacteria in the mouth, on the teeth, use the sugar in foods and drinks to make acid that attacks the teeth. Each time we eat or drink, that acid can attack the teeth for 20 minutes or longer. Over time tooth decay can develop and a cavity can form. Cavities must be treated by a dentist to avoid infection and pain.
Try to limit between-meal snacks for your child. Snacking often means more acid attacks and a higher risk for tooth decay. If your child is thirsty or needs a snack, avoid cookies, candy, and other sweet or sticky foods. Instead, offer water or healthy foods, such as fruit, carrot sticks, or cheese. Save sweets for mealtime, when the mouth makes more saliva to help rinse out food particles.