Proper brushing techniques can protect the teeth and prevent dental decay. However, your child’s nutrition practice plays a significant role in supporting the healthy growth of teeth and jawbone. Some foods can increase the risk of dental cavities, and others don’t. Apart from teaching your children the importance of dental hygiene and coming for regular dental checkups, pay attention to the type of foods that support your child’s oral health.
Calcium strengthens the teeth and bone. However, every day the teeth go through demineralization, which weakens the enamel and makes it soft—prone to bacteria attack. Eating foods such as cheese, milk, yogurt, which are rich in calcium, will replace the lost amounts and preserve the integrity of the teeth. Eggs are also a rich source of calcium and vitamin D (both nutrients help with bone development).
Fun fact: research states that dairy products can increase saliva production, which cleans the mouth and protects the teeth from cavities.
The mouth contains a colony of bacteria that feed on sugar. Bacteria breakdowns carbohydrates and other sugary food, and the by-product is an acid solution. High levels of acid in the mouth will attack the enamel, making it soft and porous.
Furthermore, the multiplication of the bacteria will cause the development of cavities. Limiting the intake of sugary foods is good for the teeth and overall health. Desserts are acceptable but serve them immediately after meals to help neutralize the acid level in the mouth.
Vegetables and fruits enhance proper dental health as they are rich in vitamin C and high in fiber. Certain fruits increase saliva production, support the teeth, and slows down the progression of any dental disease.
Apples, oranges, spinach, carrots, celery, cucumber, and melons are all suitable options.
Fluoride prevents demineralization of the enamel, dental decay, and reverses mild cavities. Fluoride is found in various sources, including fluoridated water, which is excellent for children since the dosage is within the accepted limits.
Once the child turns three, you can start using fluoride toothpaste, but be careful with the amount to prevent overdosing. Too much fluoride can cause discoloration and brown patches on the teeth.
The time between meals is critical as it allows saliva to clean the mouth and remove any residual food particles. Constant snacking without brushing after eating can affect the saliva action leading to plaque buildup and cavities.
Sticky foods to avoid include raisins, granola bars, dried figs, jelly beans, caramel, and honey. These foods make it hard for saliva action in the mouth. But, if the child consumes, ensure they brush immediately.
Did you know feeding bottles and pacifiers can impair your child’s oral health? To prevent the accumulation of plaques, avoid filing the feeding bottles with juices or sugary beverages.
Plus, ensure the child finishes their bottle feed before they sleep.
If the child sleeps while bottle-feeding, it will affect the gums and cause bacteria to multiply and increase the risk of cavities. At the proper time, you can encourage the use of sippy cups instead.
Clean your child’s gums with a wet cloth after breastfeeding. Breastmilk is rich in sugar, which can affect the gums too.
Your child’s teeth develop while in the womb, but they emerge at six or seven months. Cavities can form way before the child eats their first candy; therefore, don’t wait until the primary teeth appear to start proper dental health. Having good oral hygiene from infancy will set the child up for strong dental health later. Additionally, consider the foods to eat and avoid to promote your child’s healthy teeth.
Visit Kid’s First Dental for more information on the child’s nutrition for dental health development. Dr. Brown and the dental team will assess their dental health and discuss different topics such as teething and dental developmental milestones.