Kids love candy, but candy doesn’t love teeth. Nutrition plays as much of a role in dental health as daily brushing does. At Tiny Teeth of Dublin, we work to educate your children on the ways they can protect their teeth through nutrition. Now, we would never try to keep your child away from candy for their entire life, but there are some good tricks that will steer them clear of tooth decay, even while enjoying the occasional treat.
Why is nutrition so important for oral health?
Your child’s teeth and mouth are the first step in the body’s digestive system. They encounter everything that your child eats and drinks. Certain foods, namely foods high in processed sugar, can quickly decay the teeth, causing cavities, pain, or discomfort. By avoiding these types of foods and drinks (candy, sodas, and juices), your child will have less of a chance of developing cavities and more extensive tooth decay. Juice is very high in sugar and acid. Even white milk has sugar. This is not to say that your child can never enjoy these things. It is important, though, to make this a treat rather than a regular occurence, and to encourage teeth brushing and flossing. Another reason proper nutrition is important for teeth is that teeth need certain vitamins and minerals to grow healthy and strong. The best way to obtain these vitamins and minerals is through a healthy, balanced diet.
What should my child be eating to help their teeth grow strong and healthy?
To answer this question, refer to your basic food pyramid. Your child should be consuming a balanced diet from each of the five food groups: grains, vegetables, fruits, protein, and dairy. By finding food that they like in each category, your child will get a variety of vitamins and minerals that will help them grow strong and healthy. Here at Tiny Teeth of Dublin, we recommend mostly water, milk with meals and juice sometimes. Pop/sodas should be a special occasion treat.
Are there any other foods my child should avoid?
Yes! Foods that are really hard or crunchy (ice or jolly ranchers) can structurally damage teeth. Teeth are hard, but some foods are harder! Foods high in citrus and acidity, like lemons, limes, oranges, and many juices; also coffee and tea can wear and stain the enamel on your child’s teeth, which is an important barrier of protection. Finally, sticky, gooey foods should also be avoided, as they can stick to the surface of the teeth and be difficult to remove (fruit snacks, gummy vitamins, and sticky candy). Did you know 2 gummy vitamins/one serving contains almost two teaspoons of sugar? This sticky, sugary substance can stay between teeth for hours especially when not flossing.