It is a well-known fact that a high sugar diet increases a child’s risk for tooth decay. However, did you know there are particular types of foods that prevent tooth decay? Certain foods can help strengthen or even restore weakened enamel. Learn about common tooth-healthy foods that help prevent childhood cavities.
Crunchy Fruits and Vegetables: Crunchy fruits and vegetables are high in fiber, which stimulates saliva flow. Saliva helps rinse away sugar from the teeth before it harms the enamel. You may be wondering if this also applies to crunchy fruits that also have a high sugar content, such as apples. The amount of water and fiber actually balances out the sugar contents and does more good than harm to your smile!
Try giving your child carrots, celery, or an apple after eating a sugary snack or rich meal. This snack will help wash away the excess sugar from their meal and prevent plaque build-up.
Milk & Cheese: If your child loves cheese, we have good news for you. Cheese is great for teeth! It is low in sugar but has significant amounts of protein and calcium. Both protein and calcium are needed to help tooth enamel stay strong and healthy. Cheese also increases pH levels in the mouth, decreasing the risk of tooth decay.
Other dairy products also help keep your little one’s smile healthy. Research has shown that drinking a glass of milk after eating a sweet treat reduces plaque build-up on the teeth. Milk with cookies may not only be a yummy choice but also a smart one!
Seafood: Did you know that most seafood contains fluoride? Fluoride prevents and even reverses early signs of tooth decay. Seafood is also good for teeth because it is a lean protein, which keeps teeth healthy and strong.
If your child isn’t the biggest seafood fan, try incorporating it in dishes they already like. Adding shrimp or fish to pasta dishes, stir-fry, burritos, or casseroles are great ways to introduce your child to seafood and help them reap all of its benefits.
Nuts and Other Protein-Rich Foods: If your child is allergic to seafood or won’t eat it, there are other food choices that are also excellent for their smile. Eggs, chicken and other lean meats are good protein sources for your child’s teeth. Nuts are also a tooth-healthy snack. They contain a significant amount of protein and are a great source of other minerals that healthy teeth depend on, such as calcium and phosphorus. Additionally, nuts are crunchy, so they stimulate saliva production.
Instead of giving your child a sticky or sugary granola bar, try giving them trail mix for a school snack. The nuts will help keep their smile healthy, especially when they won’t be brushing their teeth until the evening.
Your child’s diet can definitely help prevent tooth decay, but even the healthiest diet cannot replace a proper oral hygiene routine. Children should still brush their teeth twice a day and floss daily to maintain a healthy smile.