It may surprise many parents to know that the foods they thought were healthy and nutritious actually can cause damage and decay to young children's teeth. There are healthier options out there, if you know what to look for.
Five of the best foods for young teeth include:
1. Dairy products without added sugar.
Yoghurt, cheese, and even milk contain sugar that can cause decay in some young children. Be sure that kids are brushing after any and all snacks, and try to buy only dairy products that do not contain added sugar, like plain yogurt and unflavored milks.
2. Sugar free gum.
There are some candies and gums that contain sweeteners that can discourage decay, and chewing gum may be an effective way to reduce tartar, especially in kids that don't like to brush.
Nuts are an excellent source of nutrition and a even a handful can provide valuable amounts of calcium and other minerals that are essential to good dental health.
4. Leafy veggies.
Fibrous vegetables can effectively reduce tartar on teeth, which can reduce the chance of plaque and gum disease in the process. Try to provide raw veggies for snacks, such as broccoli, snap peas, and lettuce, whenever possible.
You may know the many benefits that drinking water can produce, but it also serves as an excellent way to get rid of sugars that may settle on teeth in-between brushing.
Five of the worst foods for young teeth include:
1. Dried fruits.
If you think that dried fruits are a far more sensible option than gummy candies, think again. These sticky, sugary foods can remain on a child's teeth and cause the same damage as any candy or sugary snack. Opt for nuts instead of raisins, if possible, for a healthful and fun snack.
2. Carbonated drinks.
Carbonation can wreak havoc on the enamel of young teeth, and this includes carbonated juices or even water. Substitute carbonated drinks for less acidic options, such as milk, juice, or plain water, and remind kids to brush afterward.
3. Children's vitamins.
It is true that many children benefit from taking vitamin supplements, but be sure that they are not taking one that contains a lot of sugar. These are sweetened to be more appealing to young children, but could potentially cause damage to teeth, particularly if kids aren't brushing after taking their daily vitamin.
4. Lemon wedges.
The acid in citrus fruits, particularly lemons, can corrode and compromise the delicate enamel on young teeth. It is better to ingest citrus fruits swiftly, such as in a juice, so that the acid doesn't have time to damage or harm younger teeth.
5. Sweet cereal.
The problem with cereal is that so many on the market contain copious amounts of sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, or dextrose. Some kids may brush before they eat in the morning during the rush to get to school or daycare, and the sugar from these breakfast treats can remain on the teeth. Read labels to ensure that the cereal you choose is one that incorporates whole grains and minimal sugar.
Parents get a lot of mixed-messages when it comes to their child's health, so it pays to know what to look for when shopping for healthful, nutritious foods that won't harm young teeth. Pay attention to the sugar content in all of the foods that you buy, and you may be surprised, even shocked, by what the labels actually say. Talk to your dentist, like those at Apollo Dental Center, for more healthy suggestions for young teeth.