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Overseas Health Insurance News: Do not feed babies sweets, say experts

Expatriate healthcare insurance customers may wish to monitor the amount of fizzy drinks and sweets their children consume in early life in order to minimise the likelihood of them suffering from oral health problems.

British Dental Health Foundation chief executive Dr Nigel Carter said: "Your child will only develop a sweet tooth based on what they are given."

Cheese, vegetables, pasta and similar savoury dishes are a better snack for youngsters than chocolates and other sugary foods, he asserted.

Babies should be breastfed until they can consume and digest solids and ought to be weaned from the bottle as early as possible to reduce the risk of them developing ailments relating to their mouth, the expert continued.

Dr Carter noted water and milk are better than acidic and sweet drinks for a developing body or a child's teeth, with frequent consumption of this kind of product causing significant problems.

He permitted cordials and squashes, provided they are diluted to ten parts water for one part fruit juice.

Furthermore, a study by the University of Illinois found infant saliva contains bacteria associated with an illness called early childhood caries, which can cause tooth decay.

Researcher Kelly Swanson recommended "wiping the gums of babies without teeth" and avoiding feeding children "snacks and drinks with fermentable sugars" to reduce the prevalence of cavities.

He noted that pathogens often live in the mouth's soft tissues "prior to tooth eruption", adding that parents can minimise the occurrence of these bacteria by maintaining good mouth hygiene and healthy eating habits in their offspring.

Mr Swanson, who is associate professor of animal and nutritional sciences at the institution, discovered in his study that the "window of infectivity" for oral health problems occurs at a much earlier age than previously thought and at a very early stage of life.

A total of 40 per cent of all children in the US have cavities or some level of tooth decay by the time they start kindergarten, he added.

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