While brushing and flossing play an important part in your child’s dental health, nutrition plays an equal role in practicing good dental hygiene.
Some foods are particularly helpful in providing a well-balanced diet, while others can cause problems. Almost all foods have some type of sugar and can contribute to tooth decay. Be aware of food labels and choose foods low in added sugars.
Encourage your child to grow a healthy smile with these tooth-friendly snacks.
Milk and Cheese
In addition to dairy building healthy bones, milk and cheese also contains the beneficial nutrient calcium, which strengthens teeth and neutralizes acid, protecting teeth from cavities.
Crunchy Fruits and Vegetables
Apples, carrots and celery have higher water content, which washes away food from teeth. Chewing them scrapes away additional food and plaque.
Strawberries have plenty of vitamin C, which is great for the gums. They also have malic acid, which acts as a natural enamel whitener.
Dark Chocolate and Sugarless Gum
Dark chocolate is full of antioxidants that work against plaque. While chewing gum is often harmful to teeth, sugarless gum can help clean teeth.
What Foods are Bad for Your Child’s Teeth?
While certain foods are great for your child’s teeth, here are some foods you should consider in moderation:
Hard and Chewy Candies
Hard candies have coloring agents that stain teeth-if they change the tongue’s color, they probably affect teeth also. Chewy candies are full of sugar and get stuck between teeth, creating places for cavities to form.
Soda and Sugary Beverages
Besides staining teeth, soda and other sugary drinks are often acidic and can soften tooth enamel. Instead, drink water, which will help remove debris from the teeth.
Crunching ice cubes after finishing a drink could chip or crack a tooth.
What Should I Include in My Child’s Lunch?
With school back in session, you can make healthy, nutritious and fun lunches to send your kiddos to school with.
- A variety of snacks, fruits, carbs and protein
- Keep things fun with your own healthy DIY “lunchables”.
- Having separate compartments in the lunch box or container will help you to remember to include all components of a balanced meal.
- Using tortillas is an easy and fun way to wrap up lunch meat or cheese.
- Pre-slicing or cutting veggies and fruits will make it easier for your child to enjoy.
- Use reusable muffin cups to help separate foods or cut fruits and vegetables.
For more tips on how to get your children to eat more fruits and vegetables, visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, recommended by the American Dental Association.
And don’t forget to schedule regular visits with your pediatric dentist!