March is a great time of the year to educate your kids on how to better improve their diets because it’s National Nutrition Month! According to the American Dental Association (ADA), your oral health is one of the first parts of your body that decline in health when a person has unhealthy eating habits. Nutrition not only affects your body systemically, but it also impacts your oral health. From sugary sweet snacks to hard candies, the teeth can take a beating. The pediatric population is especially vulnerable as their mouths and teeth are still developing. Education on healthy foods can help to ensure your child’s healthy development.
Which Foods May Improve Dental Health?
Did you know that there are certain foods that contain nutrients to support oral health?! The following foods can actually benefit your child’s oral health:
Leafy greens such as kale, collard greens, broccoli, spinach, and kelp contain a significant amount of calcium for bone & enamel support.
Cheese is another great source of calcium, and hard cheeses can even help to remove plaque as you chew. In a study published by the peer-reviewed journal General Dentistry, the cheese was found to raise the pH inside of the mouth above 5.5, which lowers the risk for tooth erosion significantly.
Apples & Celery
Apples & celery have a “scrubbing” effect on the teeth when you chew them, which can actually help to remove bacteria from the teeth.
Which Foods Should My Child Stay Away From?
Certain foods that are high in sugar, and/or have sticky or hard properties can harm your child’s dental health. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, beverages loaded with sugar like sports drinks cause cavities—so stick to water instead. Additionally, the following foods and beverages would be wise to limit or avoid altogether:
Hard and/or sticky candies
Hard candies can actually cause cracks in the teeth if too much pressure is applied to chew them. Sticky candies can get stuck in the teeth and be difficult to remove even with regular brushing and flossing.
Soft drinks are often LOADED with sugar and generally have no nutritional value.
Popcorn kernels easily get trapped in between teeth and should be avoided especially in a young child’s diet as they can be a choking hazard as well.
Even the organic and all-natural-labeled fruit pouches can be loaded with sugar! It’s always best to check the nutrition labels for sugar content especially in products that can be marketed deceptively.
Nutritional habits directly affect the rest of your body, especially your oral health. The best way to help your child to avoid cavities is to see a pediatric dentist every six months. Advanced Children’s Dentistry provides premiere pediatric dentistry to all of our little patients to ensure that they grow up with a happy & healthy mouth! Schedule an appointment with Advanced Children’s Dentistry at 516-758-KIDS today.