What Do You Really Know About The Food And Drinks Your Child Consumes?

Food and drinks can make or break your child's dental health

Nutrition is an important factor in the growth and development of your child’s mind and body. Pediatric dentists go so far as to recommend that fruits and vegetables make up half of a child’s daily food intake as part of a regimen for good oral health.

On the other hand, sugar in our children’s diet is what causes their teeth to decay. The mouth is full of healthy natural bacteria, but when sugar enters the mix, it works with that bacteria to cause harmful acids. It can take less than twenty minutes for these acids to start to erode tooth enamel. The hard enamel is there to protect the tooth, so when the enamel is damaged, the softer tissue underneath will become vulnerable, resulting in the formation of cavities and eventual weakness of the gums and jaw bone.

What Foods Are Good for Healthy Kids’ Teeth?

The list of fresh fruits that are good for the teeth consists of apples, pears, or any type of melon. These watery fruits help to wash away harmful acids that can erode tooth enamel. When you do offer a fruit juice to your child, make it orange juice, the least acidic choice, but make sure they brush even after drinking orange juice.

Vitamins are common supplements for a diet lacking certain nutrients. Vitamin D is particularly good for keeping our teeth strong. The best way to get a healthy dose of vitamin D is to enjoy time in the sun, but eggs and fish are good secondary sources.

When bacteria combine with food residues to produce acids, they eat away at the enamel coating, making it lose minerals in the process.  The lost minerals can be replenished by eating foods high in calcium like cheese, milk, or seafood. Eating crisp vegetables will help to get rid of harmful plaque before it can turn into tartar.

What Drinks to Avoid

Sugary foods and drinks taste so good that children have a hard time resisting them, and that is why parental control is so important. Your Aurora pediatric dentist will realize that it’s hard to say no to sweets all the time, so he may suggest that you limit them by setting aside certain times for “treats,” such as at birthday parties, or on holidays like Halloween.

Parents are well aware that children who drink too many sodas are at risk of getting cavities, but they may not know that the acid content in the cola is worse for their teeth than the sugar is. That is why diet drinks are not healthy substitutes – they may not have the sugar content, but they’re still carbonated. 

If you can steer your child clear of sugary soda pop and the popularly advertised “sports drinks,” you will be way ahead of the game. These beverages are known contributors to the onslaught of tooth decay among today’s children.

How to Keep Healthy Teeth

There are several things that parents can do to keep their children from eating too much sugar. If it’s not there, they won’t eat it – clean out the refrigerator and the pantry and replace the junk food with healthier but still tasty snacks. The sooner you get rid of the temptation, the better.

 The labels on the packaging can help. Before you buy, check for sugar content and pay attention to how much sugar there is in a single serving. You may be surprised to know that some foods that you may have considered healthy choices really aren’t.

“Do as I say, not as I do” is an old saying that really never held water. Children look up to their parents and like to imitate their actions. Setting a good example by preparing and eating nutritious foods will help lay the groundwork for a healthy lifestyle.

Try to stick to a rigid schedule of nutritious meals and limit in-between snacking. There will be times when you are not in control of what your child eats but if you have set a good example through your own dietary habits and if you have stressed the importance of keeping their teeth clean and strong, children will usually make healthy choices on their own.

Ask Your Aurora Pediatric Dentist

If you need more information regarding your kid’s oral health or If you think your child may suffer from a dental issue, call 720-459-4501 and set up an appointment with Dr. Patterson at Epic Dentistry for Kids in Aurora.