The Link Between Children’s Diet and Oral Health

June 15, 2024
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Keeping your child healthy isn’t just about scraped knees and bedtime stories! It also includes their smile. What they eat can actually affect their teeth and gums.
As parents, we all want to give our children the best start in life, and that includes understanding how food affects their oral health. Keep reading this blog to learn about the link between children’s diet and oral health.

How Does Diet Link with Your Children’s Oral Health?

Did you know that what your child eats can affect their smile? It’s true! Here is how nutrition impacts their oral health:

  • Sugar Rush
    When sugary drinks and foods mix with mouth germs, they create acid that attacks tooth enamel, causing cavities. Limit your child’s intake of sugary foods and drinks and teach them the importance of brushing their teeth before bed.
  • Starchy Snacks
    Breads, crackers, and other starchy foods turn into sugar in your child’s mouth, feeding bad bacteria and increasing the risk of cavities. You can balance these foods with healthy options like fruits and veggies.
  • Acidic Foods
    Acidic fruits like citrus fruits can weaken tooth enamel. Encourage your child to rinse with water after eating these foods to wash away the acid.
  • Foods Rich in Vitamins and Minerals
    Strong teeth need the right nutrients. Calcium, phosphorus, and Vitamin D help keep teeth healthy.
    Dairy products, leafy greens, and nuts are packed with these good-for-smile vitamins and minerals.
  • Good Oral Care
    Brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste is essential. However, you must wait until your child is 2 years old before using it, as they might even swallow it.
    After brushing comes flossing. Flossing once a day helps remove food particles between teeth. Lastly, rinsing the mouth with water after meals helps wash away leftover food particles.

What Foods Are Recommended for Your Child’s Optimal Oral Health?

There are some foods and drinks that act like superheroes for your child’s smile. They are:

  • Raw Fruits and Vegetables
    Raw fruits and vegetables like apples and carrots are like toothbrushes for your child’s mouth. They help scrub away bad bacteria and keep your breath fresh.
    Fruits that are high in water, like melons and cucumbers, are great for rinsing away leftover food particles.
  • Cheese and Yogurt
    Cheese and yogurt are high in calcium, a super important mineral for strong teeth and bones. Yogurt is a great low-fat option, while cheese helps protect teeth and makes your mouth produce more saliva.
  • Lean Protein
    Turkey, chicken, and fish are healthy options for adding more protein, vitamin D, and calcium to your child’s diet. All three of these nutrients support healthy teeth and strengthen enamel.
  • Sugar-Free Gum
    Sugar is harmful to teeth, causing cavities and irritated gums. However, sugar-free gum can help by fighting mouth bacteria and increasing saliva production.
  • Water
    Water is the ultimate drink for a healthy smile. Most tap water has fluoride, a cavity-fighting mineral that strengthens and protects your child’s teeth.
  • Milk
    Milk is another great source of calcium for strong teeth. Plus, it helps reduce bacteria in your child’s mouth, keeping your child’s smile happy and healthy.

In Summary

Your child’s healthy eating habits go hand-in-hand with their oral health. So, by making smart choices about food and working with a reputable dentist, you will be able to set your child up for a lifetime of bright, happy smiles.

Looking for a top-notch pediatric dentist? The team present at AK Dental of Austin would love to meet your little one! Visit our clinic or call us at (512) 653-3008 to schedule an appointment today.

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