You know the basics when it comes to keeping your child’s teeth happy and healthy: brushing teeth twice a day, flossing regularly, and visiting your pediatric dentists for bi-annual check-ups. But did you know that the snacks your kids are eating can have just as big an impact on their dental health?
From what’s in their lunchbox to what they’re eating in front of their tablets, your child’s food can have a big impact on their oral health. Here are some of the best foods pediatric dentists recommend for your child’s teeth and some of the worst that should be avoided.
Which foods are the best for my kids?
- Eggs: Eggs are more than just a great source of protein for your child’s growing muscles. They’re also a good source of phosphates and vitamin D. Each of these minerals are essential for supporting your child’s oral health and strengthening their teeth.
- Apples: An apple a day keeps the doctor away. They also keep the pediatric dentists away, too! Apples are a great source of fiber, an awesome mineral for your oral health. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), foods high in fiber help to keep your gums and teeth clean by keeping your saliva flowing. Your saliva helps to wash away bad bacteria and food particles from your teeth before they can stick and form plaque. Apples also serve as a natural sponge that scrub away plaque and food particles from your teeth.
- Celery: If you’ve ever gotten frustrated by the strings of celery getting caught between your teeth, you don’t need to worry. Celery strings actually help to naturally floss your teeth, scrubbing plaque and other food particles from hard-to-reach spaces.
- Carrots: Carrots are a surprising hero when it comes to oral health. Carrots act as a natural toothbrush, gently massaging your gums as you chew. What’s more, carrots are high in keratin, which fights back against plaque, and vitamin A. Vitamin A is especially important for strengthening your tooth enamel.
- Greens: Green, leafy vegetables like spinach and broccoli are a great way to keep your child’s teeth healthy and strong. These vegetables are rich in vitamins and minerals that are essential for strengthening your enamel and fighting back against plaque.
- Water with fluoride: Fluoride is a mineral that’s found both in your teeth and your bones and can be naturally found in water. According to a study in the Journal of Pediatric Dentistry, over 65% of parents using bottled water didn’t know what levels of fluoride it contained. The CDC reports that fluoridated water helps to strengthen the teeth and reduce cavities by up to 25%.
Which foods should we avoid?
- Chewy or hard candy: The bad bacteria in your mouth thrive on sugars and carbohydrates. When these bacteria eat these particles, they produce acids that attack your teeth’s enamel. Hard candy can take a while to dissolve in your child’s mouth, giving bacteria plenty of time to snack. Chewy candy can also stick to your child’s teeth even after they’ve chewed and swallowed, giving bacteria the opportune time to dine.
- Chips: Chips are a favorite snack of many kids (and adults!). Unfortunately, the starches that are used to create chips can feed the bad bacteria in your mouth just as much as it can feed you. This puts your teeth at greater risk of developing cavities.
- Pasta: As we mentioned above, the bad bacteria in your mouth thrive on carbohydrates. While carbs are a great source of energy for your body, it’s a good idea to avoid eating too much of them. Try rinsing your mouth with lukewarm water after you’ve finished eating a pasta meal to help wash the carbohydrate particles away from your teeth.
- Citrus fruit: While oranges make for a great healthy snack, it’s a good idea to be wary about other types of citrus fruit that are high in acid content. Citrus fruits like lemons and grapefruit can wear away at your child’s enamel, putting them at greater risk for cavities and tooth decay.
Looking for local pediatric dentists in South Riding VA? We’ve got you covered. Smilez Pediatric Dental Group has the kids dentists you need to keep your child’s teeth happy and healthy. To learn more about our family dentistry services or to schedule an appointment with us, contact Smilez Pediatric Dental Group today.