Diets and Their Effects on Your Child’s Dental Health
It is difficult keeping your kids fed with a healthy diet. They’re ready to eat everything in sight, but only if it’s what they actually want to eat. You try to find a good balance between what they want and what their growing bodies need. However, these dietary preferences can have a big impact on their dental health. This extends beyond too many sweets or not enough calcium. Here’s a quick look at some of the primary dietary issues that can cause good or bad results for your children’s dental health. Hopefully these tips will help you avoid an extra trip to Ponte Vedra Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics.
Breaking Down Food and Drinks
- Candy: no, we’re not saying you need to tell your kids that they’re no longer allowed to have candy. Like so many things in life, it should be enjoyed in moderation and with a good tooth brushing afterward. However, there are some kinds of candy that can be worse for your children’s teeth and dental health than others. Sour gummy candies are especially bad, because not only do they tend to stick to the teeth, they also have different acids than you may otherwise find in foods, causing serious problems for your children’s tooth enamel.
- White bread: not only is the whole-grain version higher in nutrients that help your child’s growing body take up calcium, it’s actually better for their teeth. White bread forms into a gummy paste in your child’s mouth, while the enzymes in their mouth turn the simple starches into sugars. The paste can get caught in gaps between the teeth, forming the perfect breeding ground for bacteria to take root. The bacteria eats away tooth enamel and causes cavities to form in hard-to-brush areas of the mouth.
- Fruits: fruits and fruit juices are healthier than a lot of alternatives, such as sodas and artificially-flavored drinks or gummy fruit snacks. However, they can still contain a lot of sugar that can be harmful to your child’s teeth. It’s important to find a good balance between juice and water for young children. If your child is reluctant to drink plain water, consider trying fruit-infused water. It can provide the flavor of fruit without the sugar. Avoid juice cocktails that can contain a lot of sugar, sticking to 100% juice whenever possible.
- Acidic foods: sauerkraut, pickles and other fermented goodies tend to be popular in today’s pro-gut-health, probiotic diets. However, the extra acid used to help preserve these foods can cause the enamel on your children’s teeth to weaken and erode. Thus, making a key spot for cavities to take root, creating poor dental health. Another area to watch out for high acids is in cranberry juice and citrus fruit, which should be offered in moderation.
- Dairy products: milk, yogurt, cheese and other dairy products provide calcium not only for growing bones, but for healthy teeth. If your child is reluctant to consume dairy, try some fun additions. Add sugar-free chocolate syrup, kid-friendly string cheese, or fruit added to yogurt to make their diet both healthy and interesting. Switch to frozen yogurt or sugar-free ice cream to reduce sugar content in your child’s diet as well.
- Magnesium and Vitamin D: These nutritional powerhouses help your child’s body take up and use calcium much more efficiently. Make sure you get plenty of these vitamins in their diet. Magnesium can be found in greens, nuts, seeds, avocados, dry beans, dark chocolate and whole grains. Vitamin D can be found in enriched milk, fatty fish such as salmon and tuna, egg yolks and mushrooms.
As with so many things in life, these dietary items shouldn’t be cut out completely. They should instead, be used in moderation. Along with a daily dental care routine and regular checkups, you can help your child obtain optimal dental health. If you’re looking for a kid-friendly Ponte Vedra dentist, Ponte Vedra Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics is a great place. From children with dentist fears to mouth guards and emergency care for your young athlete, you’ll find a gentle, caring, positive environment. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced, child-friendly doctors.