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Nutrition and Oral Health: Good and Bad Food for Teeth

Young girl holding an apple with a heart shape cut into it.

Nutrition and Oral Health: Good and Bad Food for Teeth

added on: May 17, 2024

Making the best choice for your children is always a priority as a parent, but its hard to know what’s most important for their oral health. While regular brushing and flossing are major factors, the food your child consumes also significantly impacts their dental health. In this blog, we will explore the idea of good and bad foods for teeth and how you can maintain your child’s oral health with nutrition.


The Good

Lean Proteins

Poultry, fish, and eggs are lean proteins that provide essential nutrients like phosphorus and vitamin D which help build healthy teeth and bones. Protein-rich foods in your child’s diet will support overall dental health and development.

Crunchy Fruits and Veggies

Fruits and vegetables like apples, carrots, and celery are not only nutritious but are also extremely beneficial for dental health. The crunchy texture helps scrub away plaque and debris from teeth, while their high-water content stimulates saliva production, naturally cleansing the mouth and neutralizing acids that can lead to tooth decay.

Dairy Products

Milk, cheese, and yogurt are rich in both calcium and phosphorus. These essential minerals help strengthen tooth enamel and promote remineralization (the natural repair process in which calcium and phosphate from your saliva are deposited into your enamel). Cheese, specifically, increases saliva production, buffering acids and helping to protect teeth against decay.

Leafy Greens

Leafy greens like spinach, kale, and broccoli are packed with vitamins and minerals, including calcium and folic acid, which are crucial for maintaining strong teeth and gums. They also contain antioxidants that help reduce inflammation and protect against gum disease.


Water is not only essential for hydration but is useful in rinsing away food particles and bacteria from the mouth. Drinking water throughout the day, especially after meals and snacks, will help your child keep their teeth clean and their mouth hydrated.


The Bad

Sugary Snacks and Sweets

Candy, cookies, and soda are bad foods for teeth and are frequently to blame when it comes to tooth decay. Bacteria feed on sugar, producing acids that erode tooth enamel, leading to cavities. While a treat every now and then is fine, it’s important to limit your child’s intake of sugary snacks. Replacing processed sweets with healthier alternatives such as fruits and berries can help protect your child’s teeth.

Sticky and Chewy Treats

Sticky and chewy snacks like gummy candies, caramel, and dried fruit can cling to the teeth, making it difficult for saliva to wash away the sugar and acids. These types of treats increase the risk of tooth decay and should be enjoyed in moderation.

Acidic Foods & Drinks

Acidic foods and drinks like citrus fruits, tomatoes, and sports drinks, can weaken tooth enamel over time, making the teeth more susceptible to damage and decay. Encourage your child to consume acidic foods as part of a balanced meal and to rinse their mouth with water afterward to minimize the effects of acidity.

Starchy Foods

Starchy foods like potato chips, crackers, and bread can break down into sugars in the mouth and can fuel the growth of cavity-causing bacteria. Reduce your child’s risk of tooth decay by limiting their intake of starchy snacks and choosing whole grain alternatives.

Carbonated Beverages

Carbonated beverages are often high in sugar and highly acidic, making them a double threat to dental health. Reach for water or milk as healthier alternatives to sugary and acidic drinks to protect the health and longevity of your child’s teeth.


The Balance

We all need a treat every once and a while, but moderation is key. Finding a sustainable balance between processed foods high in sugar and acids and whole foods which contain teeth-sustaining minerals will help your child’s teeth sparkle all the way into adulthood.

Be sure to incorporate a variety of nutritious foods into your child’s diet, including fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and dairy products, to support their overall health and dental well-being. Be mindful of the frequency and quantity of sugary and acidic foods and drinks your child consumes and encourage healthy food and drink choices to minimize their impact on dental health. Prioritizing water intake will help rinse away food and keep bacteria at bay.


Make Informed Choices with Leblanc & Associates Dentistry for Children

At LeBlanc & Associates, we enjoy educating our patients and their families on the best ways to maintain their oral health. That starts by scheduling an appointment with a pediatric dentist. Making informed choices about the food you and your child consume while prioritizing dental health will help lay the foundation for happy and healthy smiles for many years to come.