Many parents, especially first-time ones, always look out for their toddler’s health. You are consistently working to ensure they get enough sleep, plenty of exercise, and a well-balanced diet. However, you might forget about the child’s dental health.
Certain foods and drinks are good for your child’s teeth. Similarly, others are very damaging to their oral health. Good nutrition is important to your child’s dental health. And unfortunately, you could be feeding your child foods damaging their teeth.
The information below focuses on good foods and how they can help promote optimum dental health in your child. It will also outline some foods parents should avoid giving their children.
Best Food for Kids’ Dental Health
Raw Fruits and Vegetables
Crunchy raw fruits and vegetables, like carrots, celery, and apples, can help stimulate your child’s gums and clean their teeth by eliminating the bacteria in the mouth.
These foods also encourage saliva production, which helps wash away the bacteria and food particles that stick to the child’s teeth. The high-water levels in raw fruits and vegetables offer additional cleaning advantages.
High fiber fruits and vegetables with good water content include:
Leafy, Green Vegetables
Leafy, green veggies like kale and spinach are loaded with calcium, which helps strengthen your baby’s tooth enamel. They also have other minerals and vitamins which help promote dental health.
Kale and spinach also contain folic acid, which is good for gum and tooth health.
Similarly, broccoli is high in Vitamin C, which helps increase the strength of body tissue, thus decreasing the chances of your child suffering from periodontal disease. Raw broccoli can also destroy dental plaque build-up and encourage saliva production in the mouth.
Low-fat milk, cheese, and yogurts are loaded with calcium which helps strengthen tooth enamel.
Additionally, cheese and milk can help decrease the risk of cavities and tooth decay by lowering acidity and raising the mouth’s pH levels. Allowing your child to chew aged cheese, like Monterey jack and Swiss cheddar, will help them increase saliva production, encouraging teeth cleanliness.
Low-fat yogurt has probiotics– beneficial bacteria that promote oral health by destroying cavity-causing bacteria.
Eggs, especially the yolks, have a lot of Vitamin D, which is great because it helps your body absorb phosphate and calcium. They are important minerals your child needs to protect and build tooth enamel.
The best type of eggs are the ones that come from free-range chickens or those raised in pastures. These eggs have high levels of vitamin k2, known to help strengthen teeth enamel.
Eggs will also offer your child fat-soluble vitamins like D and A. They are also excellent sources of vitamins B12, B5, and folate.
In addition, eggs have beneficial antioxidants like selenium and zinc. Best of all, eggs are a versatile food you can prepare for your child in many ways.
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are great protein sources that help strengthen your child’s tooth enamel.
Almonds, for instance, are great because they do not have sugar and have calcium. Similarly, Peanuts, cashews, almonds, and sunflower seeds can help protect the baby’s teeth by replenishing lost minerals.
The acids from unhealthy foods and drinks can strip nutrients, and nuts can re-strengthen the teeth. In addition, nuts are “good fats” that are low in sugar. You can serve nuts and seeds as part of a meal or use them as snacks.
Guardians should also consider organic, unprocessed, and sugar-free nut butter for sandwiches and snacks.
What Foods Should You Avoid?
Many foods and drinks can deteriorate your child’s dental health. And unfortunately, you may be providing them frequently. Some of the foods and drinks you should avoid or limit include:
Carbonated Sugary Drinks
The leading cause of cavities globally is sugar. It causes tooth decay and destroys enamel. And unfortunately, many carbonated drinks like soda contain a lot of sugar.
Avoid giving your child sugary, carbonated drinks because these beverages can stain their teeth and erode enamel.
If you must, limit their intake by providing the drink as a once-in-a-while reward. But always ensure that your child brushes their teeth right after. Additionally, encourage using a straw to limit contact with the teeth.
The best solution, however, is to discourage soda and adopt healthy drinks.
These are food items your child should eat in moderation because they have a lot of sugar and sodium but very little dietary fiber and nutrition. Chips, cookies, cakes, and ice cream, are just some of the examples.
Unfortunately, sugar triggers an acidic burn which erodes the enamel. And once the enamel weakens, your child becomes more prone to tooth decay, leading to cavities and other dental issues.
Again, limiting or halting intake is the only way to curb this problem. Also, regular brushing after eating these items should reduce the impact on the teeth.
While citrus fruits are highly nutritious, you should limit how much you give your child because of their high acidity content. Limes, lemons, grapefruits, and oranges can erode the enamel.
After consumption, encourage your child to drink water to clear the acidity. In addition, moderation is necessary for healthy teeth. Citrus is good, but you should not go overboard.
It should go without saying that you should avoid giving your child candy, especially chewy treats, for optimum dental health. Yes, candy is a beloved snack, and you may even use it to reward good behavior and achievements.
However, they stick to the teeth, coating them in sugar that triggers bacterial infection and enamel erosion. You must limit intake or encourage other forms of rewards, plus healthier snacks.
Keeping good oral health should start even before the first tooth pops out. Just because your baby’s teeth are not visible now does not mean they are not there.
And when they finally develop their teeth, guardians should be active in retaining a tooth-healthy diet for their children. Ensure your child understands the importance of any dietary changes you make for their dental health.