You must have been living an another planet if you do not yet know that sweet drinks, sweets and chocolates of all descriptions, cakes, buns, ice-creams, candy-floss and similar fattening foods are bad for both children's teeth and your own. So it is probably not worth a lot of time and trouble trying to persuade you that stopping or rationing these to children is a good thing. You all know this already. But doing something about it in the face of children's stratagems is quite another matter. You cannot isolate children entirely. What with sweets at supermarket check-outs, television sweet advertising, doting grandparents, and friends apparently getting unlimited quantities of them, the substitution of carrots for Smarties is likely to be as welcome as extra homework. However, sugar-free chewing gum, such as Orbit and Endekay, can be used as substitutes for sugar-rich sweets. With care, sweet rationing is possible. How you do this is a matter for you and your children - you know their strengths and weaknesses, but incentives often seem better than penalties.
This is not only a matter that concerns children, however. There is also your own intake of sweets to worry about. Self-discipline is the key. It may help you to concentrate on the slimming potential of giving up sugary foods and drinks, from a health and an attractiveness point of view. However, there are less obvious (and less well-known) foods and drinks that also have bad tooth-decay effects.
Most sugars break down with plaque to form acids in the mouth. This means any food or drink with sugar in it. If you read the labeling on many tinned or other packaged products, you may be surprised at the large numbers that contain one sugar or another. This is the first important point. There are many forms of sugar, and the labels often use their technical names. So if you did not know that fructose was a sugar, you might have thought that the fizzy drink you were drinking was sugar-free. If you are a determined content label reader you should be looking for ‘glucose', ‘sucrose', ‘lactose', ‘fructose', and any longer word that has one of these four in it, such as “iso-sucrose".
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