Everything that your child eats affects their teeth, and avoiding sticky foods is a great way to avoid tooth decay! Why? Sticky food tends to remain on the teeth longer than most foods, and the longer it is on your teeth the more likely it is to cause decay.
Of course, you can’t avoid sticky foods all together, but you can swap out healthy alternatives as often as possible. If your child frequently eats sticky snacks, make sure to brush right after to avoid any lingering sugar bugs!
- Substituting sugar free gum flavored with xylitol for regular gum can reduce tooth decay and the incidence of gum disease.
- Milk can help counteract the build up of plaque and it also is full of calcium which strengthens teeth.
- Know which fruits are good for your child’s health and which should be limited. Fruits like lemon are extremely acidic which can lead to tooth enamel erosion. Crunchy fruits like apples can help clean teeth and fight bad breath. The fibrous content of apples cleans teeth like a toothbrush, scrubbing away plaque. Strawberries are also great for teeth and gums, and are packed with vitamin C, which helps your body produce collagen, a protein vital to maintaining your gums’ strength.
- Nuts contain high amounts of minerals such as calcium and phosphorous that help protect teeth.
- Never let a child sleep with a bottle of milk. If your child must have a bottle at night, fill the bottle with water.
Foods to Avoid:
- Fruit snacks or fruit strips and roll ups
- Candies such as gummy bears, taffy, caramels, or toffees
- Hard candies such as lollipops or even cough drops
- Hard chips, pretzels, or chewy cookies
- Sugary granola or cereal bars
Foods to Try Instead:
- Dairy such as milk, cheese, or yogurt
- Veggies such as celery or carrots
Of course, the best protection against cavities is brushing twice a day and flossing at least once daily. To encourage your child to brush daily, download this weekly calendar.