Food manufacturers spend hundreds of thousands of dollars creating packaging that is designed to attract the attention of children. Unfortunately, oftentimes the food that has this kid-friendly attractive packaging isn’t always the most nutritious and may even be dangerous to your children’s teeth.
We understand how difficult it can be to know what foods are safe and healthy to give your children. That is why we have come up with several examples of foods that tend to be a favorite amongst children, not to mention adults.
Dairy Products without Added Sugar
Dairy products are great for children but don’t just grab any old dairy product off the shelf. The products you choose must not contain added sugars. The way to tell if the food or product contains additional sugars is to look in the ingredient list. Look for any sugary product that may have been added to the product.
Dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cheese are great for your child’s teeth. They have calcium, phosphates, and vitamin D. All of these ingredients help work to strengthen your child’s teeth.
Fruits and Vegetables that are High in Fiber
High-fiber fruits and vegetables can almost be thought of nature’s toothbrush. When your child consumes them, they work to naturally scrub your child’s teeth. The scrubbing action removes harmful plaque and bacteria that can cause tooth decay.
Many fruits and vegetables have a high water content. The increased consumption of water increases saliva production, keeps your child hydrated, and helps dramatically reduce your child’s risk of tooth decay.
The All Important Water
Water isn’t a type of food, but it is so important that it has to be mentioned. Water keeps your children hydrated and even increases energy levels, but it has multiple oral health benefits.
Drinking water on a regular basis helps to increase saliva production. Saliva is needed to naturally rinse the mouth of harmful bacteria that can cause gingivitis, tooth decay, and other dental problems.
Parents and caregivers should try to encourage their children to drink water, but it isn’t always easy. Children like sugary drinks such as sodas and fruit juices. If your child wants to drink sugary drinks, we recommend watering them down. Should your child persist, try to have your child rinse their mouth out with water as this will neutralize the acid in these drinks and hopefully prevent future dental problems.
Other Healthy Foods That are Great for Children
There are hundreds of different types of healthy food that are great for children. So many, in fact, that it is impossible to list them all. Here is a look at some of the other healthy types of foods that are kid-friendly and safe to consume:
- Whole grains
- Spinach and other leafy greens
- Walnuts, peanuts, and cashews
- Green or black tea
- Sugarless chewing gum – consumed in moderation
Foods and Drinks that can Damage Your Child’s Teeth
There are a number of foods and drinks that contain high amounts of sugar or that are too acidic for your children to consume. It is important that you try to avoid giving your children these types of foods and drinks as they can cause increase your child’s risk of tooth decay and may even cause gingivitis or tooth sensitivity.
Some of the foods and drinks you should avoid giving your child include:
- Sports drinks
- Foods that contain artificial sweeteners or added sugar
- Canned iced tea
- Dried fruits
- White bread
- Potato chips
- French fries and other starchy foods
- Fruit juices
If you should have a question about what foods and drinks are safe for your children’s teeth, feel free to ask the staff at Ponte Vedra Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics. Our staff is dedicated to helping parents learn how to protect their children’s teeth by making good choices in the foods and drinks they give their children. We will gladly answer any question you may have about what foods are safe to eat, drinks are safe to drink, or any other question you have about improving your child’s oral health. Feel free to call our office with your questions or ask one of our staff during your child’s next regularly scheduled appointment.