We all know the importance of good oral hygiene and regular dental visits when it comes to maintaining healthy teeth. However, did you know that a diet high in sugar, carbohydrates, acids, and frequent snacking can increase your child’s risk of developing cavities?
In this blog from Cascadia Kids Dentistry, we’re going over the foods and drinks your child should avoid or enjoy in moderation as well as what nutritious foods they should include in their diet. Interested in learning how to make better choices for your child’s oral health? Read on to find out the top four worst nutrition habits for your kid’s teeth.
Sticky & Chewy Foods
Sticky and chewy food like popcorn and caramel can get stuck in your child’s teeth and is not easily washed away by saliva. This means that these food particles will linger around all day until your child brushes their teeth and even then they have to do a thorough job to dislodge these foods from in between their teeth.
Often sticky foods require flossing to completely remove them from the teeth, but kids often neglect this aspect of their oral hygiene routine. Cavities form as a result of bacteria feeding off of left behind food particles, so make sure your child cleans their teeth right after eating these types of foods.
Excess Sugar & Carbohydrates
A diet high in sugar and carbs is a breeding ground for cavities. Bacterial plaque feeds off of sugars in the mouth and turns them into acids which attack your tooth enamel. Over time, this wearing down of your enamel leads to holes in the teeth, known as cavities. Carbohydrates are converted into sugar when they are left behind in the teeth and these foods increase the risk of tooth decay and cavities.
Frequent snacking is worse than eating three meals a day because if your child is constantly eating more food, their saliva doesn’t have enough time to regenerate and wash away excess food particles.
This gives bacteria more fuel to feed on and transform into acids that attack their teeth and lead to plaque buildup, cavities, and tooth decay. Encourage your child to eat fuller meals less frequently rather than eating many times throughout the day.
Highly Acidic Foods
Acids cause enamel erosion and weaken your teeth, which makes them more susceptible to tooth decay and cavities. However, think twice before you brush your teeth immediately after eating some citrus or juice. You should wait 30-60 minutes after eating or drinking something acidic before brushing your teeth.
If you brush immediately, the acids will penetrate your vulnerable enamel and cause more damage. Most people think of citrus fruits and juices when they hear acidic but phosphoric acid can also be found in most soft drinks and cause enamel erosion.
What Should My Child Eat?
Your child should eat a balanced diet high in fruits and vegetables, low in sugar and carbohydrates, and you should discourage frequent snacking. Make sure your child is getting enough calcium in their diet as this impacts their overall bone health and the health of their teeth.
When it comes to offering your child drinks, water should be their beverage of choice. It’s best to steer clear of soda, juice, and milk which all contain sugar or acids. Water also keeps your child hydrated so they have adequate saliva flow.
Dental Health Checkups at Cascadia Kids Dentistry
Remember to take your child for their regular 6-month dental checkup and cleaning to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. A healthy diet alone won’t ward off cavities if they aren’t practicing good oral hygiene. Contact us at Cascadia Kids Dentistry to schedule an appointment today.