Your child’s diet has a large effect on their oral health, and certain foods are healthier for teeth than others. Here’s how some food hurts teeth, and some healthier alternatives for snacking.
Types of Food that Harms Teeth
Some common children’s snacks and drinks can cause a lot of damage to teeth and tooth enamel.
Hard candy can get stuck in tooth crevices and stay around long after it’s been swallowed. This makes it difficult to remove from teeth, and gives cavity-causing bacteria more time to eat away enamel. Hard candy also sticks to wires and brackets, which increases the time that teeth are spent contacting sugar.
Crackers, potato chips and other starchy foods can get stuck in the small areas of tooth surfaces. Without proper brushing, these foods provide sugar to bacteria that feed on it which ultimately leads to tooth decay. If they do eat starchy foods, have them floss and brush after their meal. They can also swish cool water to get rid of starchy food debris.
Sugary beverages are one of the leading sources of sugar for children, and some can even be disguised as “healthy drinks” like nutritional water or sports drinks. Allowing children to sip on sugary beverages over long periods of time increases their exposure to sugar, and acid attacks that can erode their enamel. Try to limit or remove sports drinks, sodas, and high-sugar juices from their diets to aid in their oral health.
Foods that Help Teeth
The general rule of thumb for mouth healthy food is the more fiber and water content, the better!
Fibrous Fruits and Vegetables
Fibrous fruits and vegetables actually scrub teeth as they are being consumed, which helps remove bad mouth bacteria that lead to cavities and tooth decay. When eating fibrous fruits and vegetables, be sure to wash them thoroughly and leave the skin on – which is a huge source of fiber. Good sources of fiber are: apples, kiwi, berries, carrots and celery.
Nuts contain calcium and vitamin D – both of which promote healthy teeth. They are a great salty snack that’s easy to pack and eat on the go. We suggest substituting them in place for starchy, salty snacks like chips and crackers.
With every sip, water cleans teeth by ridding them of any leftover foods or acids. It also washes away bacteria and sugars that can eventually lead to cavities. Water has zero calories, and helps restore the pH balance in the mouth to fight unhealthy levels of acid.
Dietary Choices Affect Teeth
Visit our office for more useful dietary tips that can improve your children’s teeth.