Nutrition and Oral Health: Improve Your Children’s Dental Health with Diet
The foods we feed our kids greatly affect our children’s dental health as well as their overall wellness. At Dr. B’s Dentistry for Children we want to educate parents on how to offer the best-case health scenario for our lovable patients; your kids. As caregivers and pediatric professionals, it is our job to prepare our little ones to thrive without us. That said, education is key to support your children in the development of a life-long habit of healthy food choices.
An overabundance of carbohydrates, sugar and starches are not only unhealthful for children’s dental health, they also cause tooth decay (cookies, candy, soda, milk, pretzels, potato chips, crackers, etc). It is best to minimize these foods generally, however, when your kids do indulge in “junk” food have them promptly brush their teeth afterward. Because it is not realistic to expect your children to brush several times daily, consider limiting the number of times per day that snacking occurs. Time between meals allows saliva to wash away food particles that bacteria feed on. Where there is frequent snacking without immediate brushing, bacteria are incessantly fed, leading to plaque buildup and then tooth decay.
Here are Dr. B’s Top 7 Tips for Supporting Children’s Dental and Physical Health:
- Water is the best choice for hydration: Help your kids understand that water is the go-to beverage for every day hydration. Milk, juices, electrolyte beverages and soda are all sugar containing liquids. Water is the only beverage that actually helps to wash away food particles from the teeth.
- Never put your baby to bed with a bottle containing a liquid other than water.
- Fruits and Vegetables are superior snacks: For your children’s dental health remember that an apple a day keeps the doctor away. While that may not be a-solve- all for dental health, fruits and vegetables are water, fiber and vitamin rich. For dental cleaning, choose varieties that have a high concentration of water such as melons, tomatoes, celery, cucumbers, pears and bell peppers.
- Avoid sugary foods that loiter in the teeth: Lollipops, hard candies, mints and cough drops coat the teeth with sugar. Even healthful sweets like raisins, honey and molasses adhere to the tooth surface and should be brushed away as soon as possible.
- Include good sources of Calcium and Vitamin D in your child’s diet: Most people know that calcium helps build strong bones and teeth. However, few people realize that Vitamin D is necessary for calcium absorption and is therefore just as essential. Think broccoli, yogurt, sesame seeds, kale, almonds, white beans and dried figs for calcium. Incorporate button mushrooms, sockeye salmon, eggs, tuna and cod liver oil for vitamin D.
- Brush your child’s teeth after giving them medicine.
- Serve desserts with meals rather than as snacks: At mealtime there is an increase of saliva in the mouth, which helps to wash foods from the teeth. Additionally the mealtime beverage (preferably water) is an added rinse. Thirdly, kids will more likely be satisfied with a smaller dessert portion after a meal, and the fiber and protein from dinner will help slow the sugar absorption as it enters the bloodstream.
At Dr. B’s Dentistry for Children we are here to serve YOU, our cherished patient families. It is our pleasure to provide the highest quality service to improve your children’s dental health, and provide information in the field of pediatric dentistry. We believe that every question is a good question, so do not hesitate to call our friendly staff at Dr. Baggaley’s dental office.