It’s no surprise that children dread dentist visits. Even with a caring children’s dentist, this can be a scary experience for them, especially when they need to have a cavity filled. While they can’t get out of going in for regular visits, being cavity-free will make these visits much more pleasant.
So how can you help your little one maintain good oral health?
If you’ve already taught your child the basics of practising good dental hygiene, we congratulate you! You are teaching them something that is not only important for their oral health, but also for their overall health. However, good brushing habits are not the only thing that can keep cavities at bay. It’s also important to make sure your kids are eating tooth-friendly foods.
Sweets aren’t the only food that is damaging to teeth and gums. There are other common foods that have a huge impact on oral health, especially on that of younger children. In this post, we will go over what foods to stay away from – some may even surprise you!
1. Sugary Drinks
This is the first food that has to go! Carbonated soft drinks and juices can lead to tooth and gum damage. Too much sugar is super damaging to dental health, leading to cavities, destruction of tooth enamel, and tooth decay over time.
Sugar-free fizzy drinks are still acidic, which is just as harmful to your child’s smile. Even non-carbonated sports drinks are acidic and filled with sugars. Water and low-fat milk are the healthiest options – anything else should be had in moderation.
2. Citrus Fruit
Just like acidic drinks, foods that are highly acidic like citrus fruits wear down tooth enamel over time. Examples include grapefruit, oranges, and lemons so be cautious of how much of these fruits your kids eat.
Keep an eye out for citrus fruit juices as well. While they are a good source of Vitamin C, many of them are very acidic, which can damage oral health. Citric acid is even stronger when it’s used as a preservative in juice and fizzy drinks, which is just another reason to stay away from these sugary beverages.
3. Chewy Sweets
Sweets are a leading cause of cavities among children. We all know that too much sugar is bad for our health, and sweets are filled with it! They are damaging to teeth, especially kids’ milk teeth… it’s just our luck that they appear to be every child’s favorite treat!
While they make for a great treat occasionally, consider steering away from chewy options like gummy bears, lollies, or caramel. These tend to get stuck in tooth crevices for a long time. It’s no surprise that too much of this leads to cavities, so be sure to only give them to your kids as a treat occasionally.
If they do have some sweets, have them brush their teeth right after to avoid buildup and keep their gums and tooth surfaces clean.
Crisps, pasta, bread, and other foods made from white flour can also contribute to tooth decay. These starches break down into simple sugars in your mouth if they’re left to linger. Be sure to eat them in moderation, as they are some of the most teeth-damaging foods.
Not to mention that foods like crisps have no nutritional value whatsoever, so eliminating them from your kids’ diet completely will be great for both their pearly whites and general health. When eating bread, try whole wheat options over white ones.
It’s amazing how many people believe that chomping down on ice is good for their teeth. After all, it’s just water, right? Chewing on a cold, hard substance like ice makes teeth very vulnerable. It increases chances of enamel decay or cracked/chipped teeth, leading to a dental emergency. Swap out those large crunchy cubes for crushed ice that melts faster and isn’t as hard on kids’ teeth if they frequently chew it.
So, what are the tooth-friendly foods you should pack your children in their lunchbox?
1. High Fibre Fruits & Veggies
You cannot go wrong with foods that are rich in fibre. We’re talking about apples, carrots, or celery. These healthy snacks actually help to remove plaque from teeth.
Staying on the topic of vegetables, you want to be sure your child’s plate is colourful! Throw in green veggies like broccoli, kale, and spinach. These are packed with vitamins and will keep their tooth enamel healthy. This means fewer visits to the dentist’s office and a happier child!
If your child is anti-vegetable, you might have to get creative. Cook green veggies with a tablespoon of butter to reduce the bitterness, put them into a soup, or put a sugar-free veggie dip on the side.
2. Water With Fluoride
From the moment your child is born, water with fluoride will benefit the health of their pearly whites. While most tap and bottled water contains fluoride, there are some exceptions, so be sure to check the label.
This is a fun option because of the many ways to get children to eat eggs. Make them an omelette, scramble them, make into egg-and-soldiers or serve hard-boiled. It doesn’t matter how you get your kids to eat them, consider the important minerals contained in eggs. Things like protein, vitamin D, and phosphates in eggs are great for teeth (and general health)!
4. Nuts and Seeds
Not only do these foods make great snacks, but they are also amazing for a healthy smile. They are packed with high amounts of phosphorus and calcium which protect teeth and replenish those minerals stripped away by acids. Next time you pack your kids’ lunchbox, consider throwing in some almonds!
Keeping this information in mind will make significant changes in your children’s dental health. Consider substituting damaging foods with the more tooth-friendly options listed here. Aside from doing this, be sure to take them to their regular dentist visits and continue to practice good dental habits at home.
Having a healthy, beautiful smile growing up is important for so many reasons. Teaching your children the importance of brushing and flossing daily will avoid complications down the road that can be costly, uncomfortable, and even embarrassing. It’s never too late to start implementing good dental practices!
If you have questions or concerns about your child’s dental health, contact Elleven Dental.
You can also book a consultation directly. Why not check for availability?