We all want what is best for our kids. This is why we teach them good oral hygiene from a young age. We want them to have happy, healthy smiles that last a lifetime.
This mission goes beyond healthy brushing and flossing habits. You should also be aware of the best and worst foods for children’s teeth. By providing them with healthy choices, you help your kids manage their oral health. Here at ICTeeth, we are going to discuss some of the best and worst foods for children’s teeth.
Worst Foods for Children’s Teeth
Why Sugar Is Bad for Your Teeth
Before we start our list, it is important to understand why sugar is bad for your teeth. Sugary foods are usually sticky and find their way into your teeth’s crevices. Microorganisms naturally found in your mouth convert sugars into acid. This causes tooth decay by wearing away at the enamel.
Now that we know why sugar is bad for your teeth, let’s get into some of the worst foods for children’s teeth.
We’ll start with some of the obvious culprits. Kids should understand that these foods are not only bad for their overall health but also their oral health.
Soft drinks are a tooth’s worst nightmare! They are acidic and full of sugars.
You might be thinking that fruit juices are a good alternative. However, these are also very acidic and sugary. The same goes for sports drinks.
You should encourage your kids to drink plenty of water. This will help steer them away from sugary drinks. Fluoride, which is essential for preventing cavities, is found in many water sources. Low-fat milk is also a good alternative.
Chips don’t provide any nutritional value. Additionally, the starch in them harms teeth. In the mouth, it breaks down into simple sugars. This can get stuck in between teeth and can lead to tooth decay – so it’s important to help children floss.
Candy is, of course, one of the worst foods for children’s teeth. Especially when consumed in excess, the sugar in candy can cause cavities.
The chewiness of candy is also what makes it bad for children’s teeth. It gets stuck in crevices, making it easy for bacteria to feed on and toothbrushes to miss. This is another reason why it’s important to cultivate a habit of flossing in kids as well as brushing.
Sour candy is even worse. It is often chewy and highly acidic, putting children at risk for tooth decay.
Sugary drinks, chips, and candy are, not surprisingly, bad for oral health. These next few are some of the not-so-obvious worst foods for children’s teeth.
How could fruit be bad for you? Well, it is a lot like sticky, chewy candy. Fruit snacks and dried fruit easily lodges itself in crevices and becomes a feeding ground for bacteria.
Citrus and Berries
These fruits are very acidic. They can discolor or stain teeth. You should brush your teeth and rinse after consuming fruits like oranges, strawberries and blueberries.
The seeds in berries also spell trouble. If your child brushes too hard, the rough seeds can erode teeth. Make sure your child is aware of proper brushing habits so that they can take good care of their teeth.
Ice is good for cooling drinks – but it should not be used for chewing. Kids, and really anyone of any age, can be tempted to chomp on ice cubes. It’s only water! How could it be harmful?
Ice is very hard and can damage enamel. It can also make one more susceptible to dental emergencies: loosened crowns or chipped, cracked, or broken teeth are not worth it.
If your child develops a habit of chewing ice, try to limit their access. Give them drinks that are chilled without ice.
Bread is a staple for most families: it’s cheap and convenient for meal prep. From morning toast to grilled cheese sandwiches, bread is very versatile.
However, like with chips, bread is high in starch. It is converted into simple sugars in the mouth, leading to potential tooth decay.
You also run into the same problem with pasta, as many types use white flour. Consider switching to whole wheat options.
Do your best to limit your kids’ exposure to these foods. Also, to combat the effects of these foods, have your children practice healthy brushing habits. Find more information about brushing and healthy teeth on our blog.
Best Foods for Kids’ Teeth
Now for the good stuff! There are many tooth-friendly foods that can greatly benefit your child’s oral health.
Many nuts and seeds are high in phosphorus and calcium. These minerals can help counteract the effects of acid on tooth enamel.
However, it is important to remember that some nuts and seeds are particularly hard. If children aren’t careful, they can damage their teeth from biting too hard.
An apple a day could keep the dentist away! A good food for teeth, they are crunchy, full of fiber, and great at scrubbing away plaque.
Carrots and Celery
Like apples, these crunchy snacks are great at scrubbing the surface of teeth. The fiber and water found in these vegetables also help to balance the mouth’s sugars. Additionally, celery is considered nature’s floss because of its fibrous strands!
Milk, yogurt, and cheese are surprisingly some of the best foods for kids’ teeth. They are rich in calcium, phosphorus, and casein. These minerals neutralize acids produced by plaque bacteria.
Green Leafy Vegetables
Broccoli, kale, and spinach are teeth-friendly foods full of folic acids. These are known for improving the health of teeth and gums.
Eggs have plenty of protein, calcium, vitamin D. These minerals are essential for oral health, making eggs a good food for tooth health.
In addition to choosing good food for teeth, your children should practice brushing twice a day and regularly flossing. They should also visit a dentist regularly to maintain good oral health.
The Bottom Line
This list isn’t meant to keep your child from eating anything tasty ever again. We just believe that it is important to be aware that what they are eating can affect their oral health.
By limiting the bad and focusing on the good, we can help ensure that our children maintain their happy, healthy smiles.