Your child’s oral hygiene goes beyond just brushing and flossing. What they eat and drink has a large effect on the health of their teeth and gums. Eating a healthy diet can help protect your child’s mouth from the inside out by promoting strong teeth and gums.
The food that comes in contact with your child’s mouth can either have a positive effect on the teeth and gums, or a negative effect. The less sugary, sticky, and gummy foods your child eats, the better. Sticking to a diet that is made of mostly fruits, veggies, and whole grains is in the best interest of your child, and the health of their mouth. Here is a list of foods that can help strengthen your child’s teeth and create healthy eating habits.
This may seem like a no brainer, but most children are not drinking enough water throughout their days. Saliva, which regulates the plaque and bacteria on teeth and in mouths, is made of mostly water. Drinking enough water throughout the day helps your child’s mouth stay clean and rinse away food particles and buildup that accumulates after eating.
Berries, grapes, & beans
Foods that are high in antioxidants are great for fighting off bacteria in your child’s mouth. When too much bacteria is present, inflammation and infection become more likely to spread and cause discomfort. Incorporating foods with a great deal of antioxidants such as berries, grapes, and beans are a great way to keep your child’s teeth and gums clean and healthy.
Kiwis, Oranges, & Grapefruit
Vitamin C has been referred to as the “invisible toothbrush” and can be found in foods such as kiwis, oranges, and grapefruit. Your child’s gums thrive on vitamin C because of the collagen it produces and the strength it gives the connective tissues within the gums. Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults, so maintaining gum health from a young age is crucial to your child’s long term well-being.
Apples, Cucumbers, & Watermelon
These foods contain a great deal of water, which you now know is crucial to keeping your child’s teeth clean. In addition to the high water content, foods such as apples, cucumbers, and watermelon actually act as a great tasting tooth brush. These foods are full of fiber that can scrub away plaque and bacteria as you bite down. The high water content helps wash away the food particles or buildup that gets loosened when your child chews.
Carrots, Broccoli, Pumpkin, & Sweet Potatoes
Foods with a high vitamin A content such as carrots, broccoli, pumpkin, and sweet potatoes are superstars for your child’s teeth. Vitamin A helps build up tooth enamel and also prevents against dry mouth, which can be a playground for plaque and bacteria. Load your child up on orange veggies, and leafy greens for the vitamin A dose they need for a beautiful and strong smile.
Yogurt, Milk, & Cheese
Dairy products that do not contain added sugar are great for your child’s teeth. Foods such as yogurt, milk, and cheese contain calcium and vitamin D, which are crucial nutrients for growing strong teeth and bones. Cheese actually stimulates saliva in the mouth, so it helps clean out your child’s mouth while also giving the teeth a healthy dose of calcium.
Nuts & Seeds
Nuts, seeds, and butters made out of nuts and seeds are great sources of vitamins and minerals that your child’s teeth need to grow healthy and strong. Peanuts, almonds, walnuts, cashews, and sesame seeds are a few great examples of nuts and seeds that are able to deliver a huge dose of nutrition to teeth. They contain a great deal of fiber, vitamin D, and calcium. They are also great for “scrubbing” the teeth, and getting rid of plaque built up on teeth.
After meals, give your child a stick of sugarless gum to help clear away some plaque and bacteria that can accumulate in between teeth and around gums while eating. The chewing boosts secretion of saliva that helps to clean out the entire mouth. Make sure that the gum is in fact sugarless, as gum that contains sugar can wreak havoc on your child’s teeth and gums.