Foods that can keep kids’ teeth healthy

When you think about what to feed your kids, you may be thinking more about the health of their bodies than the health of their teeth. But what your kids eat has a huge impact on the condition of their teeth—and that, in turn, can have a huge impact on their overall health.

Trash the sugary junk foods

The overconsumption among children of junk foods, sugary snacks, and carbonated drinks has resulted in a fact that might surprise you: the most common chronic childhood disease in the U.S. is tooth decay.

But there’s good news: this is one childhood disease that is almost entirely preventable. Daily brushing and flossing combined with regular dental check-ups and a proper diet can go a long way toward preventing cavities and protecting the health of your children’s teeth. Here are some guidelines.

Encourage your children to eat:

  • Fruits and vegetables, especially those with high water content, such as apples, pears, melons, celery, and cucumbers. The water content helps minimize the effects of the sugars in fruit and triggers the flow of saliva, which helps to wash away food particles.
  • Milk, nuts, and lean meats, such as chicken, which strengthen tooth enamel thanks to their calcium and phosphorous content.
  • Spinach and yogurt—which are both great sources of calcium.
  • Cheese, especially cheddar, which triggers the flow of saliva and helps wash food particles away from teeth.

Encourage your children to drink:

  • Water—especially fluoridated water—which is the best beverage choice. Avoid fizzy juices and sodas.

Practice dietary damage control

If you’re under pressure to buy junk food for your kids, try to choose sugar-free or unsweetened foods. They may not be the healthiest choices, but at least if you avoid sugar, you can minimize the damage.

Meet the school lunchbox challenge

When your kids are at school or camp and eat lunch away from home, you have less control over what they eat. These ideas may help when you’re packing your child’s lunch:

  • Include choices from all the major food groups—whole grains, dairy foods, fruits and vegetables, and protein. Balance and variety in meals is important.
  • Balancing protein and complex carbohydrates is vital for brain function. Peanut butter on whole grain bread or lean turkey and cheese on bread are good choices.
  • Fruits and vegetables are a must. Many children resist vegetables, so try to enhance their appeal in creative ways. Cut cucumbers into fun shapes like stars, or pair baby carrots with a creamy, yogurt-based dip.

Source: Delta Dental of MN