Tips for Cultivating Children's Dental Health
Protecting your child’s teeth from decay and other problems is an important task for parents, and there’s lots of advice out there– good and bad. We all know cavities and dental problems can be both painful and costly, so working to actively avoid them for ourselves and our kids is something to approach with intention. Did you know that certain foods are great for dental health, while others can be particularly damaging? Our expert pediatric dentists at Tedford Family Dentistry in Ooltewah have compiled a list of best and worst foods for your child’s teeth, so you can stay informed and take a proactive approach to teaching your children healthy dental hygiene.
Worst Foods for Your Child’s Teeth
You guessed it! You may not be aware of just how teeth-damaging sugary drinks and sodas can be. The acids and sugars beverages like soft drinks and juices contain can really work against you causing tooth and gum damage. The sugar works as a fuel for bacteria in the mouth, turning it into an acid that eats away at tooth enamel, the outer protective layer of the teeth. Over time, this leads to tooth decay and– of course– cavities, so it’s important to try to limit your child’s intake of these types of drinks.
Sticky, Chewy Candy–
Chewy and sticky types of candy like caramels, taffy, and gummies tend to stick to the teeth for a long time. They also have a tendency to get stuck between the teeth or even leave a sugary residue behind that attacks and dissolves tooth enamel.
Chips, Pasta, & Bread–
This one may come as more of a surprise, but consuming lots of high-carb foods like chips, pasta, and bread can also have an adverse effect on tooth health. These starches are often made from white flour, which turns to simple sugars inside the body. These simple sugars can lead to tooth decay!
Best Foods for your Child’s Teeth
Milk, Cheese, & Yogurt–
Milk, cheese and yogurt are foods that are rich in calcium, phosphorus, and casein, all of which can help protect tooth enamel. Also, some of the nutrients found in milk can have a neutralizing effect on the acid that is produced by plaque bacteria in the mouth each time your child eats or drinks. So in short, not only is milk good for the bones, but it’s also great for the teeth!
An excellent source of protein, calcium, and vitamin D, eggs are great for oral health, as these minerals are key players in that arena. Vitamin D plays a large role in the absorption of calcium, and both of these vitamins help kids maintain strong and healthy teeth.
Apples, Carrots, & Celery–
Chewing apples, carrots, and other crunchy items that are high in fiber can actually scrub plaque off of your child’s teeth! These foods also make for healthy, easy-to-prepare snacks that are full of vitamins and minerals. Carrots and apples are also high in water content, and require a lot of chewing, which means more tooth-scrubbing action. An apple– who knew it was nature’s toothbrush!
Best and worst foods aside, it’s super important to teach your children healthy dental habits from the beginning. Show them how to properly brush their teeth, as well as floss them, and make sure they’re doing so twice a day for at least two minutes each time, per the ADA’s recommendation. If you need more advice or are looking for a great family dentist in the Chattanooga area, get in touch with Tedford Family Dentistry today!