In addition to benefiting a child’s overall health, eating well can strengthen and protect their teeth! The process of getting your children to eat healthier foods can be challenging, but it can have a long-lasting effect on their oral health, even into adulthood. The American Dental Association provides a list of healthy snacks both good for teeth and that children will enjoy, but also warns against foods that harm developing teeth. Find out what snacks can improve your child’s oral health and still let them enjoy the foods they love!
Healthy snacks, healthy teeth
Regular dental checkups and good oral hygiene habits at home are essential for healthy teeth in children. Did you know that you can improve your child’s oral health by changing what foods and snacks they eat every day? There are a number of nutritional components in foods that can affect the strength of our teeth, whether in a positive or negative way. In the early development of teeth, proper nutrition is essential to prevent plaque and tartar buildup that can damage teeth. If you want to protect your child’s health, a balanced, low-sugar diet is the best choice. While your children may not like celery sticks or plain broccoli, there are other options that are both tasty and nutritious.
For starters, water, especially fluoridated water, is the best beverage for maintaining healthy teeth. Fluoride makes teeth more resistant to acids in food, which helps prevent cavities. Even if your child prefers soda, encourage them to drink water to increase fluoride intake and hydrate them at the same time. Your child’s lunchbox should contain a variety of low-fat dairy foods, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and protein foods (such as legumes, nuts, and lean meat). They are among the most nutrient-rich foods a child can consume, and they offer a variety of options. Try including some of the following into your child’s daily routine to give them the most vitamins and minerals:
- Cheddar cheese and apples
- Fresh watermelon
- Unsalted almonds
- Berries and low-fat yogurt
- Crunchy veggies and dip
- Celery sticks with cream cheese.
Dairy products, such as cheese and yogurt, are low in sugar but high in calcium, which gives you more bang for your buck. Besides helping strengthen bones, calcium plays a crucial role in the formation of teeth. Several proteins, such as meat, poultry, fish, and eggs, contain phosphorous, which helps strengthen teeth as well. Finally, fruits and veggies are high in water and fiber, which help balance the sugar content they contain while cleaning your teeth at the same time. Food groups such as these are essential for young children to consume during the developmental stages of their teeth and can have an impact on their oral health in the future.
When is the best time to snack?
In addition to knowing what foods children should eat, it is also crucial to know when they should eat them. In the case of food, there’s a right and a wrong time. Eating healthy snacks is good for the body, but consuming too many snacks allows bacteria to grow in the mouth and plaque to accumulate on the teeth. When you give your child sugary snacks such as candy, soda, or pastries, it is important to limit how much they eat. It is therefore recommended that the number of snacks your child has during the day be limited in order to prevent cavities. It’s also been shown that spacing out your meals allows your saliva to build up and wash away food particles, which also protects your teeth. As frequent snacking can have the same detrimental effects as sugary diets, the number of snacks that are given on a daily basis should be determined beforehand as an extra precaution.
Maintaining Good Oral Health
To keep your child’s teeth healthy, you should teach and implement good oral health habits at home that they can continue to use as adults. Having healthy snacks is a good start, but it’s not enough to protect your child’s teeth. Brushing twice a day and flossing at night can keep your child’s teeth clean and healthy by removing food particles stuck between them. Additionally, ADA-approved mouthwash can also kill bacteria and address any bad breath issues. Visiting a children’s dentist regularly will allow him/her to properly monitor your child’s developing teeth and ensure, through a thorough cleaning, that your child’s health is at its best. It is possible for your child to have underlying oral health problems even with excellent oral hygiene at home. You should therefore schedule follow-up appointments with your children’s dentist to ensure that they receive proper care and to prevent any problems before they occur.
For more information on how food affects your child’s teeth or other options to include in their daily oral health routine, schedule a visit at our Orthodontist in Rancho Cucamonga office. Contact us today.
Sweet Tooth Orthodontics & Children’s Dentistry
Phone: (909) 989-7222
6331 Haven Ave Suite 12
Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91737