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Posted on: March 3, 2023
Safeguard Your Child’s Smile With Tooth-friendly Foods
A child’s grin is magical, but toothaches make it tough to smile. As a parent, you have an invaluable opportunity to help your child build strong, healthy teeth that will serve them well throughout their life. Since a nutritious diet is essential for good tooth development, serving your child a tooth-friendly menu is a great way to safeguard their smile.
At Pediatric Dental Associates in Miami, we understand how very important caring for a child’s oral health is, and we’re eager to help. Nutrition can have a major effect on both your child’s overall well-being and their teeth. If their diet doesn’t provide the nutrients needed to build and maintain strong teeth, they’re facing a significant disadvantage. In fact, diets heavy in processed foods, acids, and sugar can fuel the bacteria that trigger tooth decay and cavities, setting the stage for oral health troubles. If you want to protect your child’s teeth, what kind of foods should be on the table? Your pediatric dentist in Miami has a few recommendations.
As you’re planning your family’s menus, you’ll want to incorporate a mix of healthy foods to get an array of nutrients. There are two that are especially valuable for tooth development.
A potent mineral that’s famous for building bone, calcium is also needed to keep teeth strong. Thankfully, there are several tasty places to find it. Calcium is in milk, cheese, yogurt, and other dairy products. It’s in leafy green vegetables such as kale, turnip greens, and broccoli. In addition, it’s found in a wide selection of fortified foods like orange juice, cereals, and plant milks.
Nicknamed the sunshine vitamin because the skin will produce it when exposed to the sun, Vitamin D is vital for healthy teeth. It not only helps your child’s body absorb calcium but also remineralizes dental enamel. This makes teeth stronger and better able to resist damage. When you want to serve up some vitamin D, options include salmon, tuna fish, eggs, and fortified foods.
Whole Grain Wins
Opting for whole grains is an easy win when you’re intent on eating healthier. Refined grains are milled, a process that refines their texture and extends their shelf line. It also removes many valuable nutrients. To make matters worse, it ensures that products made from these grains will break down into sugars more quickly when they’re eaten. This is good for bacteria that live in the mouth, but it’s bad for your child’s teeth. Choosing whole grains means that your child gets great taste, better nutrition, and less exposure to cavity-causing acid attacks. For whole grains, turn to popcorn, oatmeal, whole grain bread, or rice cakes made from brown rice.
When it comes to drinks, it’s hard to beat water. It doesn’t contain any sugar or calories, but it does have the power to hydrate growing bodies, which is vital for kid’s general wellness and dental health. Drinking water is a refreshing way to rinse teeth between brushings. It washes away stray food particles and assists in neutralizing the acid produced by bacteria.
Fruit, Veggies, and Health Benefits
If you’re wondering where to turn for the calcium and vitamin D that will help your child’s teeth thrive, head to the produce section. Dining on fruits and vegetables is an excellent way to get these and other valuable nutrients. Plus, many fruits and veggies have a high water content. Much like drinking water, biting into these juicy fruits and vegetables helps to neutralize the bad actions of the bacteria lurking in the mouth. Pears, apples, cucumbers, and carrots are all great choices for tooth-conscious consumers.
Nuts, Seeds, and Great Nutrition
Variety is always good when you want to keep the family interested in healthy fare. With nuts and seeds in the mix, there are plenty of sources of healthy vitamins, minerals, proteins, and fats. You could try walnuts, pistachios, cashews, or almonds. Pumpkin or sunflower seeds offer more choices. For expanded horizons, consider the flavored varieties, but check the sugar content before you buy.
Snacks That Help Smiles Grow
Would you like some inspiration for your snack cabinet? These healthy snacks contain the nutrients needed to help smiles grow:
- Carrot sticks with peanut butter
- Strawberries with low-sugar yogurt
- Apple slices with almond butter
- Whole grain rice cakes and cream cheese
- Cucumbers with hummus
- Broccoli with a healthy dip
- Lunch meat with cheese rollups
- Milk and fortified cereal
Snacks That Only Seem Healthy
As you’re selecting snacks, watch out. There are some lunchbox standards that pretend to be healthy, but they are terrible for teeth. If it is high in calories, steeped in sugar, or full of sticky ingredients, it’s probably not good for teeth. When choosing snacks, it best to avoid foods like the following:
- Sports and energy drinks
- Chips and crackers
- Protein and granola bars
- Fruit leathers, fruit snacks, and dried fruit
Whenever your child ingests something that contains sugar, the bacteria in their mouth jump into action. The acid produced attacks your child’s dental enamel, and it can hang around, causing harm, for up to 20 minutes. Snacking frequently, especially if sugary foods or beverages are involved, can lead to frequent acid attacks. This can endanger your child’s teeth.
Parents can do several things to protect their child’s smile. Providing them with a healthy diet that supports the development of strong teeth and offering healthy, tooth-friendly snacks is a great start. Assisting them as they learn how to care for their teeth, reminding them to brush and floss regularly, and ensuring that they see the dentist will also prove invaluable.
At Pediatric Dental Associates in Miami, we enjoy watching smiles and families thrive. Meeting your family’s oral healthcare needs will be our pleasure. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for your child.