Your child’s oral health is important. You are only given one set of baby teeth, and one set of adult teeth. It is important to make sure your child’s teeth stay healthy. At a young age you start teaching your child to brush and care for their teeth. Dentist visits can be started around age 2 depending on the child. Your child’s diet may have more of an impact on their tooth health than you may think.
Understanding Tooth Decay
The important thing to understand is how sugar can impact your child’s teeth. Sugar is very sticky. The sticky sugar has a tendency to get into the crevices of the teeth and stay there. The microorganisms in the mouth will convert the sugar into acid. When the acid stays on the tooth, the acid will wear away the tooth enamel causing decay.
Tooth decay can also be called a cavity. Tooth decay is permanent damage to the enamel and structure of the tooth. There are many factors in why someone gets a cavity, but there are three main components that can lead to cavities.
- Number one is consuming high amounts of sugary foods.
- Number two the amount of bacteria growth in the mouth.
- And number three having poor oral hygiene.
If your child gets a cavity in one of their baby teeth it can be tempting to just leave it be without any treatment. That baby tooth is going to fall out anyways. But the bacteria that caused that tooth decay can actually spread to underlying adult teeth and cause problems before the adult teeth even pop out of the gums.
Worst Foods For Tooth Health
The worst foods for your child’s dental health are sticky, sugary, or acidic foods.
Candies such as taffy, and caramels are both sticky and high in sugar. Other candies such as hard candies whether they be lollipops or other hard candies are both high in sugars. When leaving a hard candy in your mouth for a long time it is filling the mouth with sugar for a long period of time which can be harmful. If your child chews on a hard candy it can actually break the tooth.
Carbonated beverages are also terrible for your child’s teeth. They are filled with both sugar and acid. Acid is bad for the enamel, because it can cause it to erode away.
Other acidic foods that can be bad for your child’s teeth are tomato sauce, citrus fruits, and pickles.
Drinks such as juices with added sugars, sports drinks, and energy drinks are all very high in sugar content.
Starchy foods such as chips, rice, bread, pasta, and crackers don’t seem too terrible as a snack for your child. But starchy foods can become wedged between the teeth and when broken down are turned to simple sugars. Which can cause harm to your child’s teeth.
Dried fruit and canned fruit are different from raw fruits. Dried fruits can be sticky, and have lots of loaded sugar in them. They also don’t have as much water in them. Canned fruits are bathed in sugary syrup which adds lots of sugar to the fruit and can cause them to be more sugary than nutritionally beneficial.
Popcorn or corn on the cob is another food that can cause havoc on your child’s teeth. The kernels can get stuck in between teeth. The kernels becoming stuck and hard to get out can create gum infections.
Tooth Decay Prevention
The list of bad foods can seem daunting. It can be beneficial if your child has a snack of one of these foods, to brush their teeth immediately following. This can help clean out any sugars or acid that is left on the teeth.
Tooth decay symptoms include discoloration, visible holes in the teeth, increased sensitivity, aching pain, and fragile teeth. Sometimes children may not experience any pain or symptoms.
It is important to have frequent dental exams as well as x-rays to make sure there aren’t any cavities hiding.
Best Foods For Tooth Health
There are some foods that can help your child’s dental health.
Apples are high in fiber which boost saliva which can help clean foods off of teeth.
Celery is a great option for a snack because it is usually stringy which works as a natural flossing tool.
Carrots, cucumbers along with apples and celery are all crunchy snacks which can help remove plaque from teeth.
Watermelon is a great food because it is high in water content as well as high in nutrients that promote heart health and bone health which lowers the risk of gum diseases.
Eggs are a great and versatile food for your children. They are high in protein as well as a great source of vitamin D. Vitamin D is essential for the body to properly absorb calcium. Calcium is important for strong healthy teeth. Calcium rich foods include milk, yogurt, and cheese.
Seeds and nuts help support healthy tooth enamel as well.
Leafy greens like lettuce, kale, arugula, and spinach are high in folic acid which helps reduce inflammation that can lead to gum disease.
Be aware of foods that promote tooth decay and limit the amount your child eats. It is also a good idea to make sure your child’s diet contains many health tooth foods.
Teaching your child to brush and floss their teeth as soon as they have teeth can help them build a good dental hygiene routine. This can help prevent tooth decay in your child.
Your diet can help or harm your teeth. Know the foods you should limit and those you should consume to limit tooth decay! #HealthSurgeon
READ MORE: 12 Plant-Based Calcium Rich Foods