Benefits of Diet & Nutrition for Kids Teeth
Teaching children to make healthy nutritional choices is one of the best things that any parent can do for their child’s oral health because the type of foods that are consumed can significantly impact a person’s risk of tooth decay. A visit to your kid’s dentist can provide some useful nutrition tips that can greatly improve their oral health, and these will be discussed below.
Types of foods that promote strong teeth in children
A diet high in fruits and vegetables and low in sugars should be encouraged from childhood. Diets high in sugar are perfect for cavity-causing bacteria in the mouth that ferment these sugars to form acids causing tooth decay.
A well-balanced, nutritious diet is a very effective tool in the fight against cavities. Nutrient-dense foods that are packed with antioxidants are powerful immune boosters and increase the body’s ability to fight bacteria that can affect oral health and cause disease of the teeth and gums.
Another important food factor to consider is texture and consistency. Foods that are sticky and sweet can easily get stuck in the pits and fissures of posterior teeth where they form the perfect substrate for bacteria if not removed. On the other hand, fibrous foods stimulate salivary flow which cleanses food particles from the mouth and mechanically scrubs the teeth.
Healthy food choices for kids include:
Fruits and vegetables: raw fruits and vegetables are crunchy and fibrous and help to remove bacteria from teeth. Fruits high with high-water content such as melon are also a good snack option.
Nuts and other Protein sources: Lean meats such as chicken, white fish, and turkey, are rich in protein that strengthens tooth enamel. Nuts such as almonds and peanuts are a good source of protein along with calcium and phosphorous which also strengthen tooth enamel.
Calcium-rich foods: dairy products such as milk, yogurt and cheese are excellent calcium sources, one of the building blocks for “strong bones and teeth”. Eating cheese also makes the oral cavity more alkaline thus reducing the risk of cavities.
Fluoridated Water: in areas where tap water has fluoride, there is another layer of protection given to teeth. Fluoride strengthens enamel and makes teeth more resistant to decay.
Sugar-free gum: If your child is old enough, chewing sugar-free gum can be beneficial to their oral health. By stimulating salivary flow, food particles are washed away and xylitol, a popular sweetener used in sugar-free gum is cariostatic (inhibiting formation of cavities).
Your Child's Diet
By making healthy food choices and avoiding sweetened drinks, sticky foods or desserts, and acidic foods and beverages that can cause erosion of tooth enamel (or limiting the consumption of these types of foods to mealtimes), your child can significantly reduce their risk of developing cavities. When combined with good oral hygiene practices like brushing their teeth twice daily with fluoride toothpaste and flossing, your child can be well on their way to having a healthy and happy mouth.
For these and other nutrition tips for kids, contact the team at Pearly Smiles Pediatric Dentistry, in Torrance California. Your #1 kids dentist!