It’s important to start teaching your kids about nutrition and good oral habits from a young age. The current state of children’s oral health is not good, with nearly 60% of kids aged 6 to 11 years old having at least one cavity or filling by the time they start school. Our teeth are one of the first places that poor nutrition will show. All is not lost, however, if you take preventative steps early. The best time to start teaching your kids about nutrition and good oral habits is when they are young. There are many things we can do as a parent to help encourage healthy teeth for kids. Here are five tips to help keep their teeth healthy:
1. Eat foods with calcium
Calcium is essential for strong teeth and bones. Good sources of calcium include dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt, as well as leafy green vegetables, tofu, almonds, and sesame seeds.
The benefit of eating calcium-rich foods is that they not only help to strengthen teeth but also help to prevent cavities by reducing the amount of acid in the mouth.
2. Choose healthy snacks with less sugar
Sugar is one of the main culprits when it comes to cavities. When choosing snacks for your kids, opt for ones that are lower in sugar, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds.
If you do give them sugary snacks, make sure to brush their teeth afterward or have them chew sugar-free gum to help reduce the risk of cavities.
3. Reduce juice and soda
Drinking sugary drinks is one of the worst things you can do for your teeth. Not only do they contain a lot of sugar, but they also contain acid that can erode tooth enamel.
Instead of giving your kids juice or soda, offer them water or milk instead. If they must have juice, make sure it’s 100% fruit juice with no added sugars.
4. Increase fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are not only good for overall health, but they’re also good for oral health. They help to keep teeth clean and healthy by stimulating saliva production and reducing the amount of plaque buildup on teeth.
The best fruits and vegetables for oral health are ones that are high in water content, such as watermelons, strawberries, cucumbers, and celery.
5. Chew sugar-free gum
Chewing gum can actually be good for your teeth, as long as it’s sugar-free. Gum that contains xylitol, a type of sugar alcohol, has been shown to reduce the risk of cavities.
Xylitol works by inhibiting the growth of bacteria in the mouth that cause cavities. It also helps to stimulate saliva production, which helps to keep teeth clean and healthy.
So there you have it, five tips to help keep your kids’ teeth healthy. By following these tips, you can help reduce the risk of cavities and other oral health problems down the road. If you need professional dental care, join us at Around The World Pediatric Dentistry. You can request an appointment online, or call (203) 489-2112 to get in touch with us!
For more information about recommendations for children’s diet and how it affects their dental health, check out https://www.aapd.org/ for their resources.