As a parent, you spend a lot of time thinking about your child's health. Unfortunately, many parents fail to carry that through to dental health. This lack of attention can lead to a greater risk of developing cavities and may contribute to serious health consequences down the road. Luckily, there are easy ways to boost oral health in children. Adding healthy snack options to their daily menu is just one of the simple things you can do to encourage strong and healthy teeth.
The healthiest snacks provide essential nutrients, encourage chewing motions, and do not add a lot of sugar or acid to the diet. Here are a few that really stand out in their ability to promote healthy teeth and gums:
Cheese: With calcium and phosphate, cheese and other dairy products encourage strong bones and teeth. They also regulate the pH level within the mouth to lower acid levels and protect enamel.
Fresh Fruits: A piece of fruit can satisfy a sweet tooth without causing it to decay. The chewing needed to break up bites of fruit stimulates saliva production to cleanse teeth naturally.
Vegetables: Crunchy and low in sugar, vegetables like celery serve as natural toothbrushes. They are also packed with vitamins that help strengthen enamel and fight plaque.
Water: While not really a snack, drinking plenty of water helps rinse sugar, acids, and food debris from the mouth. It is also an excellent way to stop kids from mindlessly snacking on junk foods throughout the day.
Foods that have loads of sugar or high acid content can accelerate decay. A few examples that are common in children's diets include:
Sour candies: Candy manufacturers use citric acid to produce that lip-puckering taste, so these often have a much higher acid content than other types of candy.
Chewy candies: Foods that are very sticky and chewy can get caught between teeth and stay there for hours.
Sodas and other sugary drinks: Sugar is converted to acids by bacteria in your mouth. Those acids then attack tooth enamel, which increases your chance of developing cavities.
Fruit juice: Fruit juice is a healthier option than soda, but it can still be packed with sugars and acids. If you offer juice to kids, make sure they follow it up by rinsing with water.
Healthy snacks are just part of proper oral care. Your child should also have routine exams and cleanings to ensure teeth are growing correctly and help keep them strong and healthy. Contact Pediatric Dental Group today to schedule your child's next dental appointment.