Have you ever thought about how your child’s eating habits could affect their dental health? We may not see the relationship between the two right away, but they are actually very dependent on one another. Just like your body requires a certain amount of vitamins and minerals each day to stay healthy, so do your teeth. To prevent tooth decay and other dental issues, children need to consume a balanced diet. All food groups are part of a balanced diet, and making smart decisions helps maintain good oral health.
As a parent, you want to make sure your kids are eating healthy, getting exercise, and doing well in school. Not only are there foods that your child should avoid, but there are also many foods that make a kid’s teeth stronger and more resistant to dental problems. Tooth decay is the most common disease among children, so providing a good diet in addition to great oral health habits like brushing and flossing goes a long way.
What relationship exists between a child’s dental health and nutrition?
According to experts, children require food from all of the major food groups to develop normally and maintain good health. Too many carbohydrates, sugars (found in things like cake, cookies, candy, milk, fruit juice, and other sweet foods and drinks), and salty foods and starches (like pretzels and potato chips) can all lead to tooth decay. The key factor causing tooth decay is how long carbohydrates stay on the teeth.
Here are some recommendations for selecting foods that are better for your child’s teeth:
- Keep fresh produce around the house to serve as “healthy snacks” in place of processed foods. Pick produce that is high in water content, such as cucumbers, melons, pears, and celery. Bananas and raisins should be limited because they contain high sugar content. After eating these fruits, immediately brush your teeth.
- Serve cheese as a snack or with lunch. Cheddar, Monterey Jack, Swiss, and other aged cheeses, in particular, encourage salivation, which helps remove food residue off teeth.
- Avoid chewy, sticky foods. It is challenging for saliva to wash away foods that stick to teeth, such as raisins, dried figs, granola bars, oatmeal or peanut butter cookies, jelly beans, caramel, honey, molasses, and syrup. If your child eats these kinds of foods, encourage them to brush their teeth right away.
- Serve sweets with meals rather than as snacks. If you’re going to give your kid any treats, serve them as dessert right after the meal. Around mealtimes, saliva production often increases, making it simpler to wash food from teeth. The liquid consumed during meals aids in cleaning off food residue from the teeth.
- Encourage your kids to eat as few snacks as possible. More significant than the amount eaten is how often you snack. Saliva can wash away food particles that bacteria would otherwise eat if there is a gap in between meals. Regular munching without immediately brushing afterward gives bacteria constant fuel, which promotes plaque formation and dental decay. Try to keep the number of snacks you eat every day to no more than one or two. If at all possible, brush your teeth right away after eating the snack.
- Eat less sugary food, so it doesn’t stick to your teeth. Because they continually cover the teeth with sugar, and avoid or limit gum, mints, hard candies, and cough drops, all of which promote tooth decay.
Buy sugar-free or unsweetened foods.
Never give your infant a bottle of milk, formula, juice, or soda to drink before bed. If your child needs a bottle before bed, fill it with just water.
Instead of giving your child juice or soda, give them pure water. Sugar is present in milk, drinks, and juices. Water helps wash away any food particles that might be stuck to the teeth and is safe for the teeth.
To help them develop strong teeth, provide calcium-rich foods in your child’s diet. Yogurt, broccoli, and milk are all excellent sources.
If your youngster chews gum, pick sugar-free or xylitol-sweetened varieties. Bacteria in the mouth have been demonstrated to decrease when xylitol is consumed, and chewing increases saliva production.
Some Tips on Brushing and Visiting the Dentist
- Brush and floss your child’s teeth, and use fluoride. After age two or after your child can spit out and not swallow toothpaste, using a fluoride toothpaste every day is the best way to avoid tooth decay. Early deterioration is reversed by fluoride. Fluoride administration remineralizes the surface after the tooth has developed. This entails supplying the teeth with minerals again. Minerals support tooth strength, which helps ward off tooth decay. If feasible, brush your child’s teeth at least twice daily and after every meal or snack. If brushing is not an option, at least repeatedly rinse your mouth with water. To help get debris out from between the teeth and below the gum line, floss your child’s teeth at least once a day.
- After giving your child medicine, remember to brush his or her teeth. Cough syrups and other medications include sugar, which oral bacteria use to produce acids. The enamel, the tooth’s outermost layer of protection, can be destroyed by these acids.
- Regularly visit the dentist. By the age of one or within six months of the first tooth breaking through the gums, your child should visit the dentist for the first time. Regular dental checks will also aid in early detection of any growing dental issues.
Taking care of your child’s nutrition as well as dental health and all the other things you must think about as a parent can be overwhelming. Still, it’s well worth the effort when your child grows into a healthy young adult with a brilliant and healthy smile as well as a healthy body. We only want what’s best for our children, and starting young is the safest and surest way to ensure we are doing all we can for them. Kids love sweets, but as parents, we need to make sure we are limiting their sugar intake and brushing their teeth frequently to avoid the buildup of plaque and acids that can ruin those little pearls.
Please book a dental appointment with us today, and let us make sure your child’s teeth are well taken care of.