You’ve taught your child the basics of maintaining good oral health: brush and floss twice a day for a bright, cavity-free smile. It’s important that your child learns how to care for their teeth at an early age, since healthy teeth and gums are essential for your family’s overall health.
But is brushing and flossing really enough to protect against cavities? The answer may be in your kitchen!
Believe it or not, what your family eats is just as important as how often they brush and floss. As your neighborhood pediatric dentist, Stellar Kids Dentistry is here to help you make healthy choices for your family.
Here are the best and worst foods for your children’s teeth:
The best foods for healthy teeth
What your child eats directly impacts both their dental hygiene and overall health. That’s why it’s important to load up on healthy vegetables, fruits, and calcium-rich foods. Some of the best foods for strong teeth are:
You know the old saying: “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Well, there’s some truth to that! Apples act almost like a natural toothbrush. Their fibrous skin gently cleans your child’s gums and removes plaque from in between their teeth while they chew. Apples also increase saliva flow, which plays a crucial role in preventing cavities. Apples are among the best foods for healthy gums and teeth.
Eggs are an excellent source of vitamin D and protein — both vital for healthy teeth. While protein is important for growth, vitamin D helps your child’s teeth absorb calcium, which keeps their teeth strong and durable.
Leafy greens like kale and spinach contain folic acid and essential vitamins that protect both baby teeth and permanent teeth. These nutrients build strong enamel, which prevents tooth decay and keeps your child’s teeth white and bright.
Much like saliva, water helps wash away bacteria, debris, and food particles from in between your child’s teeth to prevent cavities, gingivitis, and bad breath (halitosis). In fact, dry mouth is one of the leading causes of tooth decay, so make sure your child drinks a full glass of water after each meal.
The worst foods for healthy teeth
Many foods can increase your child’s risk of developing cavities, chipped teeth, and even gum disease. Some of the worst foods for both baby teeth and adult teeth are:
When you eat a piece of bread, the enzymes in the ingredients break down and become sugars. Because bread is soft, it can easily get stuck in between the crevices of your child’s teeth, where they become trapped. Over time, these old food particles can form plaque, which releases enamel-weakening toxins.
All candy contains sugar that eats away at your child’s tooth enamel, leaving them vulnerable to cavities. However, gummy candy, caramel, and other chewy candies are especially bad for your child’s oral health. These soft candies cling to the crevices in their molars, causing cavities and tooth decay.
While most citrus fruits are packed with energy-boosting vitamin C, they also contain citric acids that can wear down your child’s hard tooth enamel. Without this thick layer of enamel, your child’s teeth are vulnerable to cavities, tooth pain, chipped teeth, and other common dental problems.
It’s no surprise that soda contains tons of cavity-causing sugars. But did you know that these sugars also react to the bacteria in your child’s mouth? It’s true! When sugar comes in contact with bacteria, it creates toxins that damage your child’s enamel.
For more tips on how to protect your child’s teeth and gums, call the experienced pediatric dentists at Stellar Kids Dentistry in Mukilteo, Everett, and Mill Creek, Washington, today or schedule a visit online!