Eating the right foods can help prevent gum disease, keep teeth free from decay, and contribute to overall oral health. For example, foods that increase saliva are a natural defense against cavities because saliva neutralizes the acids from food that can harm your child’s teeth. Keep reading to learn more about how a healthy diet can help prevent dental problems in kids.
Get Plenty of Fiber: Fiber-rich foods like leafy greens and other fruits and vegetables will help keep your child’s teeth and gums clean, according to the American Dental Association (ADA). These foods get saliva flowing and prevent oral bacteria.
Increase Dairy Intake: Cheese, milk, and other dairy products help your teeth by replenishing minerals and rebuilding enamel. They also help fight plaque by producing saliva. The calcium and phosphorus found in dairy are needed to re-mineralize teeth and prevent enamel loss.
Avoid Sweets: Sugary foods and drinks (especially sticky candies like caramel and lollipops) are especially harmful to your child’s enamel. If you must give a sweet treat, it is important to rinse your child’s mouth out immediately after consuming these foods. In addition, try to stick to chocolate or dark chocolate, which washes off the teeth more easily and comes with a whole host of other health benefits.
Avoid Sugary Drinks: Carbonated soft drinks are one of the worst sources of sugar and are also highly acidic. Juice is also bad for your child’s teeth due to the high amounts of both natural and added sugars. As much as possible, avoid giving these drinks to young children and offer plenty of water between meals. Drinking water helps to wash away food particles from the teeth.
Avoid Carbs and Starches: Similarly, eating too many carbohydrates and starchy foods can also negatively affect your child’s oral hygiene. This is because bacteria in the mouth convert carbs to acids that wear down enamel and begin to promote tooth decay.
Limit Snacks: The more times your child eats throughout the day, the more at risk they will be for oral health problems. Frequent snacking gives bacteria constant fuel and does not give enough time for saliva production to restore the ideal oral environment. Try to limit your child’s snacking as much as possible, and be sure to brush their teeth after every snack or meal.
The foods and drinks that you offer your child go a long way toward creating either a healthy oral environment or one that places them at increased risk of cavities, gum disease, and decay. Encouraging your kids to make healthy choices now will set them up for success in adulthood.
If you have questions or concerns about your child’s oral health or diet, give us a call today to schedule an appointment with one of our friendly board-certified pediatricians!