How to Protect Your Child’s Teeth Through What They Eat
What your child eats affects his or her dental health. As a parent, you can help protect your child’s teeth by teaching your child to eat healthy and make good choices. Here are some teeth-healthy tips to remember when you’re serving meals and snacks.
Get Plenty of Fruits and Vegetables
Instead of starchy, carbohydrate-filled snacks, eat water-based fruits and vegetables that won’t stick to your child’s teeth. Pears, melons, celery and cucumbers make great snack ideas, especially in the hot part of summer. Limit sticky foods, such as raisins or bananas.
Cheese Helps Teeth
Aged cheeses trigger the production of saliva, which helps wash food particles out of the mouth. Serving cheese with lunch or as part of a snack, help make saliva. An added bonus is that cheese has calcium, which helps build strong teeth.
Choose Sugar-Free Gum and Treats
Gum increases the flow of saliva. Xylitol reduces the amount of bacteria in the mouth. Sugar-free gum can be a nice treat that isn’t as bad for the teeth like hard candy. Look for sugar-free treats when possible.
Choose Water Over Juice or Soda
Milk, soda, and juice all contain sugar, even though some of those sugars are naturally occurring. Sugar can damage the teeth. Don’t put a baby to bed with a bottle that is filled with milk, formula or juice because of the sugar sticks on the teeth overnight and damage the enamel. Water doesn’t harm the teeth. It also acts like saliva and washes away food particles that stay in the mouth.
Have a Treat With a Meal
Although it’s a good idea to limit sugary foods, that doesn’t mean you can’t serve special treats. Get your child in the habit of eating sweets, such as desserts, with meals. The mouth makes more saliva during mealtime, which helps to wash food particles away from the teeth. Children are more likely to remember to brush their teeth after a meal.
Avoid Sticky, Chewy Foods
Jelly beans, honey, peanut butter and dried fruits are harder to chew and stick to teeth. It’s hard for saliva to wash the particles away, even if the child takes a drink. If you do serve these kinds of food, have the child brush after eating.
Help Your Child Learn to Brush Effectively
Use fluoride toothpaste and teach your child to brush properly, for at least two minutes. When you can’t brush after eating, at least rinse with water. Take time to help your child floss every day. Make an appointment with a Cary, NC family dentist for regular cleanings to help your child have a bright, beautiful smile.
Thanks to Alliance Dentistry for their insight into dentistry and how to protect your child’s teeth.