Eating for good oral health is important for your child for two reasons. Their growing bodies need a wide range of nutrient-rich foods to serve as the building blocks for growth and tissue health. At the same time, choosing the right diet keeps conditions inside their mouth decay-neutral. Loading up on sweets and sugar encourages a bacteria-friendly environment.
It’s not easy sorting out the right foods for the best in oral health for your child. As pediatric specialists, the team at Lee Dental in Frisco, Texas, has your child’s well-being at the heart of our services.
With that in mind, we’ve created this list of the best and worst foods for your child’s teeth. Understanding the crucial role that the right foods play in their developing lives could lead to a long and healthy experience, with limited exposure to tooth decay and gum disease.
The best foods for your child’s teeth
There are probably few surprises about the best foods your child should enjoy to develop strong teeth while also avoiding things that promote decay.
Fruits and vegetables
The basis of any healthy diet, fresh fruits and vegetables are full of nutrients and fiber. You might know the importance of dietary fiber from a digestive standpoint, but the benefits of fiber start in the mouth as a saliva stimulator. Healthy saliva flow dilutes the sugars and starches that bacteria feeds on and is a natural defense against tooth decay and gum disease.
The calcium in milk-based foods and drinks provide the basics for bone and tooth formation. As well as rebuilding enamel, cheese is another saliva stimulator. Since saliva carries calcium and phosphates, it boosts the effects of dairy products, too.
The best drinks for your child come down to a choice of two: water and milk. Choosing water regularly creates a lifelong healthy habit. Similarly, the minerals and vitamins in milk make it a powerful nutritional choice.
Foods to avoid
Here are some well-known cavity culprits:
Sugars and processed starches
Sugary snacks are known to promote decay, and starches like white bread aren’t far behind. Starch breaks down into sugar. When it’s already processed, the conversion to sugars happens quicker. When starch comes in a soft form that sticks easily to teeth, it adds to the bacterial food supply, encouraging decay. Candies that hang around in your child’s mouth also provide feed bacteria.
Crackers and chips
While salty snacks don’t cause the direct shot of sugar, crackers, chips, pretzels, and the like are major sources of those processed starche, which turn to sugar and create problems.
Loaded with sugar, citric, and phosphoric acids, soft drinks can etch your child’s tooth enamel, leading to weak spots that decay attacks.
The one exception to the fruit and vegetable rule is citrus fruit. While they’re juicy and refreshing, they are acidic and create problems for tooth enamel, so let your child enjoy these in moderation.
As well as smart dietary choices, preventive dentistry checkups with Lee Dental can keep your child’s oral health in great shape. Contact our office online or by phone to arrange your child’s next visit today.