Every day children walk through the doors at Pediatric Dentistry in Sioux Falls. Most come to get the basic dental work done, but the damage inside their mouths is something long-time pediatric dentist Gayle Nelson sees almost daily.
"We see it eventually everyday on kids that are bombed out with a lot of decay," Nelson said.
According to experts, high-acidity foods and drinks can cause permanent damage within the first 30 seconds of coming into contact with teeth. Nelson says that acid is caused by sugar.
"Whether that is natural sugar or added sugar you are still going to get a breakdown which results in acid and that will dissolve away the enamel in primary teeth, very very fast," Nelson said.
Putting a growing number of kids under the drill to replace the decay with fillings, it is damage many parents are concerned about.
"I didn't want my children to have decay and I grew up in an era where dentistry isn't want it is today and I wanted my kids to not have to go through the work I went through," Tamara Gorsuch said.
Nelson says he knows kids can't stay away from all drinks and foods with sugar, but keeping it to a minimum is key.
"It's an occasional snack, they start O.D.ing on it and they start thinking that they can have that for breakfast, lunch, midafternoon snack, and evening. And eventually that works against them so that's what they have to watch carefully. Moderation, that's what we're looking for," said Nelson said.
To make sure your child keeps a healthy mouth, Nelson says remember to have them brush their teeth immediately after eating sugary snacks or drinking sweetened beverages.
It's not just the acid from sugary foods and drinks that can hurt your child's teeth. Doctors say kids who grind their teeth in their sleep also produce a lot of stomach acids which can reflux and damage young teeth.