Module 2: Risk Factors for Tooth Decay
2.5 Is It What Infants and Children Eat or Drink That Matters, or How Often?
Frequent consumption of foods containing sugar increases the risk for tooth decay, even if the quantities consumed are small. Even very small amounts of these foods consumed frequently over the course of a day will create an acid environment lasting many hours.
Snacking, however, is important for infants and children; because they have limited stomach capacity they need to eat small amounts of food frequently to meet their nutritional requirements. Even though they contain sugar (carbohydrates), healthy foods like fruit, vegetables, grain products (especially whole grain), and dairy products should not be avoided. However, it is important to limit snacking on foods containing sugar, to offer snacks at regular times between meals, and to develop good oral hygiene habits. (For more information on feeding and eating practices that reduce the risk for tooth decay, see Module 3, section 3.3.)