Brushing and flossing daily are both essential to healthy teeth, but those aren’t the only factors that can affect the state of your child’s smile. Your child’s diet can affect their dental health, as well. For example, children are more susceptible to tooth decay if they eat too many sugary foods and drinks.
If you consult with a pediatric dentist in Lehi and elsewhere, they will say that eating a balanced diet – full of vegetables, fruits, food rich in protein and calcium, and whole grains – can result in a happy, healthy smile. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some food children should eat to maintain healthy teeth and gums.
Apples, Celery, and Carrots
Crunchy, fibrous fruits and vegetables like apples and celery are good sources of fiber and vitamin A and C, two antioxidants that boost gum health. Chewing these fruits and vegetables produces saliva in the mouth, which rinses away bacteria and acids. Additionally, the fibers in celery scrub away food particles from your teeth and stimulate the gums.
Along with milk, dairy products such as yogurt can boost dental health because of their protein and calcium content. Yogurt, in particular, is great for teeth because its probiotics – good bacteria – can crowd out the bacteria that cause cavities. Make sure to eat plain yogurt without any added sugar, as the added sugar may cause cavities.
According to a 2013 study, eating cheese raised the pH levels in people’s mouths, thus lowering their risk of tooth decay. This may be because the chewing that is required to eat cheese increases the flow of saliva in the mouth, which washes away any food debris stuck in the teeth. Aside from that, cheese also contains protein and calcium, two nutrients that strengthen tooth enamel.
Nuts, like almonds, contain minerals and protein that are important for dental health. They are also low in sugar and carbohydrates, which makes them the ideal snack. Eating nuts does not add to the risk of cavities because tooth decay is caused by acid-producing bacteria that are activated by carbs. Chewing nuts also stimulates saliva production.
Broccoli and other Leafy Greens
Leafy greens such as broccoli, spinach, and kale are full of minerals and vitamins and are low in calories. Their high calcium content makes them good for your children’s oral health. Additionally, these leafy greens contain folic acid, which is a type of B vitamin that has many health benefits, such as improving the health of teeth and gums.
Eggs, particularly egg yolks, are an excellent source of vitamin D, which is needed for your body to absorb calcium, which maintains healthy teeth. They also contain protein and calcium – two important minerals for oral health.
Drinking water, especially water with fluoride, is important, not just for dental health but also for overall health. Unlike soda and other sugary drinks, water can replenish thirst without causing side effects such as cavities.
Diet has a huge impact on oral health. If you want your children to have healthy teeth, you should not only practice proper dental hygiene but also eat tooth-friendly food.