What Should Kids Eat for Oral Health?
Food and Your Child's Teeth -
The Good, The Bad, and The Cavity-Causing
We know it can be tough for parents to get picky eaters to finish dinner, much less avoid cavity-causing foods. On top of that, it can be hard to keep track of which foods to avoid and which to include. That’s why we’ve created a quick list of food do’s and don’ts for healthier teeth.
What to Avoid
Hard Candy – Eating too much candy puts your child’s teeth at risk for developing cavities. According to Live Science, this is due to the sugar content. When mouth bacteria eats sugar, it creates an acid that mixes with saliva. That mixture creates plaque, and too much plaque can cause cavities.
It’s tough to avoid candy completely, especially for children. The key is to limit candy consumption, or look for sugarless alternatives with the ADA seal.
Citrus Foods – The ADA states the acidity of citrus foods can erode tooth enamel over time. This leads to an increased chance of developing cavities.
There’s no reason to avoid citrus fruits completely. After all, they are a great healthy snack! What you should do is encourage your child to eat a variety of fruits. It’s also a good idea to avoid lemon and lime flavoring in water, as well as too many citrus juices.
Soda – Too much soda can bring trouble. Not only is the sugar content bad for teeth, but the high acidity levels can also lead to erosion eroded tooth enamel.
There are many reasons to avoid drinking soda, including tooth health and physical health. If your family enjoys soda frequently, try slowly cutting back the amount you drink. When you do drink soda, the ADA recommends enjoying it with a glass of water to avoid dry mouth.
What to Enjoy
Fruits and Vegetables – Especially crunchy ones! Not only are they good for a growing child’s body, they are excellent for developing healthy teeth.
Live Science claims that biting into a crunchy fruit may cause existing plaque to loosen, removing it from teeth and avoiding potential damage. Apples and carrots are highly recommended!
Milk – A glass of milk is a great source of calcium for growing bones. But it also may help to reduce the levels of acid in your child’s mouth produced after eating sugar. Less acid means a lower chance of plaque build-up.
Milk in sugary cereal is too sweet to benefit teeth. The easiest way to get benefits from milk is to encourage your child to drink a glass after dessert.
Raisins – Having trouble finding a snack your child will enjoy? Try raisins! They are a naturally sweet food, and contain none of the sugar that will cause plaque build-up. In fact, raisins may be able to kill plaque-causing bacteria due to their high levels of phytochemicals.
The world of food and teeth may seem complex. Above all, aim to provide your child with a healthy and balanced diet. We hope the tips above will point you in the right direction!