Good nutrition is important to a child’s health, but that includes their teeth too! Kids are constantly growing and developing, and so are their teeth, which is why they require foods from each food group.
The question is, exactly what kinds of foods are best? Here are the foods that will help keep your child’s dental health in tip-top shape.
Carbohydrates, proteins, and fats
For optimum health, it is suggested that carbohydrates, proteins, and fats are included in every meal, but balance is key.
Normally, a child’s diet has a higher concentration of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates contain starches and sugars. Some are harmful, and some are essential. The complex carbohydrates found in vegetables and fruits are more beneficial, while the starchy carbohydrates in pasta and bread can be more problematic if consumed in large quantities.
If your child is not lactose intolerant, try adding some yogurt, cheese, and milk to the menu. Foods rich in calcium are believed to help tooth strength and brightness. These foods are also great for promoting strong bones, which is super important, especially when it comes to growing children.
Lean proteins and nuts
The phosphorus found in certain protein-rich foods can prove helpful in restoring minerals to your kid’s teeth, which in turn protects the enamel. Protein is also the building block of muscle, and who doesn’t want to have strong muscles? Remember, the heart is a muscle too!
Fruits low in acid
An apple a day keeps the doctor away, and that includes the dentist! The crunchiness of the fruit helps work your kid’s teeth as he or she chews, and the water content acts as a buffer that protects the teeth from acid. Chewing on fruits can also help work other food particles out from between teeth.
Water is often overlooked, but it’s so important to your child’s health. No soda, energy drink, juice, or fortified water is better than plain old water. Most people do not get enough good, pure, wholesome water into their bodies to promote good health.
Water is a natural lubricant and cleanser. It is a necessary catalyst for the essential metabolism of the body, and it’s a cleansing agent that flushes waste and toxic materials from the cells in the body.
Water hydrates the body and is perhaps the best liquid to drink for maintaining a kid’s teeth. If your child enjoys soda, juice, or other drinks, try to limit their consumption and replace those sugary drinks with water instead.
There’s no substitute for regular brushing
All types of foods and snacks have the ability to cause dental cavities. Cookies, candy, pastries, and cake get the most attention when cavity-producing foods are discussed. Yet, fruits, milk, peanut butter, pretzels, chips, and juices can be equally detrimental. Regulating your child’s eating habits, along with promoting regular brushing habits, is the best way to support your child’s dental health.
Prevention is key
If no action is taken to maintain proper dental health, acid can attack the tooth enamel, allowing tooth decay to penetrate into the soft tissue inside the tooth. If the decay is not treated in its early stages, it will progress to the tooth pulp, a soft tissue containing nerves, arteries, veins, and lymph vessels. Eventually, an abscess will begin to form at the root, and without endodontic (root canal) treatment, the tooth will be lost. Proper nutrition can spare your child the pain and agony of premature tooth loss and dental disease. Prevention is key.
If you have any questions or concerns about your family’s dental health, give Dr. Mott a call. We can schedule a checkup for your child and answer any questions you may have about the best foods to feed your family for optimal dental health.