Parents spend a lot of time thinking about the right things to do for their kids. Whether it’s trying to avoid common medical or dental health problems for kids, trying to find the right school, or determining how much time a child should be allowed to play video games, parents are faced with decisions each day. Practicing proper nutrition for kids not only helps protect their oral health and strengthen their teeth but can help them reap other benefits to both their health and well-being.
The Best Foods to Strengthen Your Kids’ Teeth
The next time your child asks for a snack, consider making an easy swap for better health. Consider replacing a glass of fruit juice with fruit-infused water. Or, chop up some fresh fruit for your child instead of handing them a pre-packaged fruit cup. Making some changes to how your child snacks can help set them on the course for a lifetime of healthy snack choices.
In addition to changing out snacks, some foods are better for our kids’ teeth than others. Consider our list of 5 foods to help strengthen your kid’s teeth.
1. Dairy products are great for your kids’ teeth.
Dairy products, specifically those without added sugar, are great for teeth. Cheese can help stimulate saliva production, and calcium replaces minerals that are leached from the teeth by various acids. Milk, yogurt, and cheese all provide calcium and important phosphates. Milk that has been enriched with Vitamin D also helps the body to use calcium wisely.
2. Encourage your children to eat their vegetables.
We all know that vegetables can provide a host of health benefits. Vegetables, especially cabbage, collard greens, and chard, are great for the teeth. These veggies are chock full of critical vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A, vitamin C, beta carotene, calcium, and magnesium. As a bonus, because phosphorus is stored in the teeth, these minerals can help your child’s body maintain balance.
3. Nuts and seeds are a healthy snack, great for your kids’ teeth.
For children who do not have a nut allergy, nuts and seeds make a great snack. Peanuts provide calcium and Vitamin D. Almonds provide calcium that is good for the teeth and gums. Unsalted cashews help stimulate the production of saliva, which helps to clean the teeth. Walnuts are full of fiber, folic acid, iron, magnesium, niacin, thiamin, vitamin E, vitamin B6, potassium, zinc, and more.
4. Eggs aren’t just good for breakfast.
Eggs provide a significant boost of protein and, as such, make great food to help your child start their day. But eggs are good during other parts of the day because they contain vitamin D, vitamin K, and phosphorus. A boiled egg can be a healthy, portable snack packed in lunch boxes, or try mixing it up by serving scrambled eggs with veggies and cheese mixed through.
5. Sugarless gum is a good snack for kids.
If your child is interested in bubble gum, do what you can to encourage them to enjoy a stick of sugarless gum instead. The next time you are at the grocery store, sneak a peek at the nutrition label on bubble gum. You’ll see that just one piece contains 6g to 8g of sugar. The American Dental Association (ADA) indicates that chewing sugar-free gum can help increase saliva flow, reduce plaque acid, strengthen teeth, and reduce the risk of tooth decay.
Good nutrition for kids is good for parents too.
When selecting nutritious foods for your children, you might inevitably start consuming those same foods. Parents need to understand how to strengthen teeth and to know that healthy food for children is the same as healthy food for adults. Consuming foods high in Vitamin C and limiting foods with sugar, carbonated drinks, potato chips, and high fructose corn syrup can help our oral health, our waistlines, and more.
In addition to eating nutritious foods, children and adults should also increase their daily intake of water. Energy drinks, sports drinks, soda, and other sweetened beverages are not healthy for kids, and they aren’t a lot better for adults either. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), children and adults should consume water every day.
Finally, even if your child starts eating and drinking healthier options each day, this shouldn’t be viewed as a replacement for proper oral hygiene. The best diets include tooth brushing at least twice per day or after meals, daily flossing, plus rinsing with a fluoridated mouthwash.
Have more questions about nutrition for kids?
The dentists at We Make Kids Smile are happy to answer any questions you might have about how nutrition for kids plays a role in oral health. Give us a call or request an appointment on our website. We look forward to talking to you and your child about nutrition for kids and proper oral care.