Dietary Recommendations for Children for Healthy Teeth
At Great Grins for KIDS - Portland, your child’s oral health is our number one priority. Good oral hygiene, such as daily brushing and flossing, also includes a healthy diet. What your child eats can have drastic effects on their teeth and gums. The best thing you can do as a parent is to teach your child about healthy dietary choices. The following information is designed to help you establish a healthy diet through proper education.
What Causes Tooth Decay and Gum Disease?
Our mouths contain bacteria that can have potentially harmful effects. The bacteria are usually found in the sticky biofilm that constantly forms on and around our teeth, known as plaque. If enough plaque builds up around the teeth, then it will calcify into tartar, which is much harder to remove. We brush and floss our teeth to keep plaque and tartar at bay.
The bacteria in plaque produce acids when they break down the sugars in your mouth. These acids soften the enamel, causing significant damage that can result in a cavity. In response to these acids, our immune system produces toxins designed to destroy the bacteria. Unfortunately, these toxins also create an infection that targets healthy tissues. This infection is also known as periodontal (gum) disease. Gum disease can lead to the destruction of your soft tissues, connective ligaments, and underlying bone. If gum disease is left untreated, tooth loss will occur.
Fruit, Vegetables, and Calcium
The best way to combat tooth decay and gum disease is prevention. Without the right vitamins and minerals, your child’s teeth may be at greater risk for developing complications, tooth decay, and gum disease. Fruits and vegetables are among the best foods your child can eat. Fruits are especially helpful because they tend to be rich in vitamins, such as vitamin c. Vitamin c has been proven to prevent bleeding gums. These foods also contain a high volume of water and generally, a low level of sugar.
Most parents already know that calcium is an important part of their child’s oral health. Calcium helps to supplement the process of remineralization, which keeps tooth enamel strong. However, many may not know that it also helps your child’s nerves and muscles function properly, making it even more beneficial.
Sugar and Snacks
Sugar is the leading cause of tooth decay. Unfortunately, refined sugar is in many of the foods and drinks we consume. When possible, you should limit your child’s exposure to sugary snacks and beverages. Read the nutrition labels of products to stay educated on sugar levels. If your child does consume foods rich in sugar, have them brush their teeth as soon as possible.
In general, snacks can create issues with your child’s oral health. For one, they tend to be high in sugars and simple carbohydrates. They can also reduce their appetite when it comes time to eat a more wholesome meal. If your child does need a snack, try to make it a healthy one. Fruits, vegetables, and cheese make much better alternatives to more unhealthy snacks, such as chips, candies, or cookies.
Schedule an Appointment
Regular checkups and professional cleanings are also an important part of your child’s oral health. Call (971) 470-0054 to schedule their appointment today!