The connection between healthy eating and kids oral health
As a parent, you want your child to have strong and healthy teeth and for him to avoid dental problems at a young age. And although proper oral hygiene and regular visits to the pediatric dentist play crucial roles in the achievement of these goals, parents should not ignore the importance of proper diet in a child’s oral health.
Here’s what a good diet means for kids’ oral health.
It is fairly common for parents to give their children food laden with sugar for snacks. With some types of food, it is obvious that these contain sugars, including candies and chocolates. What most parents do not know is that even “healthier” options like organic, GMO free and gluten free snacks can contain high volumes of sugars. Everyday health lists 8 snacks you’re eating everyday with lots of sugar.
Even meals like pretzels, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and chips contain carbohydrates which are eventually converted into sugar.
Sugar + your kids teeth
When your little one eats food rich in sugar, the bacteria in his mouth will eventually feast on that sugar and leave behind remnants on his teeth. Apart from that, the bacteria that eat sugar produce acids which weaken the teeth.
Now, when your child constantly snacks on food rich in carbs and sugar, the enamel of his teeth begins to erode, paving the way for tooth decay.
And when tooth decay is left unchecked, your child becomes vulnerable to different dental problems like gum disease and even tooth loss. This is especially important to watch as your child’s full mouth of teeth have grown in. When they begin to touch the likelihood of food getting stuck between them and cavities forming is much higher.
Encouraging your child to eat healthier
As much as possible, limit the number of times your child eats snacks. Frequent snacking increases your child’s teeth’s exposure to sugar and carbs. As a rule of thumb, allow snacking just once or twice daily.
If you must give your child a sugary treat, give one as a part of a meal and not as a snack. When your child eats a meal first before dessert, his saliva production increases. And the more saliva he has in his mouth, the easier it will be to wash away the food from his teeth and gums.
Avoid giving your child sticky and chewy food like raisins, oatmeal, granola bars, caramel, and syrup as these can stick to his teeth.
Instead of giving your child food rich in sugar and starch, encourage him to eat more veggies and fruits. For fruits, opt for those that have high water content, including melons and pears. Limit his intake of raisins and bananas which have high sugar content.
You can also provide him with milk, cheese, yogurt, and other dairy products which are rich in calcium.
Finally, limit his intake of juices and sodas. Instead, offer him plain water.
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