Healthy Food & Drink Choices For Your Smile
A healthful, balanced diet helps keep your child’s whole body healthy, and this includes that precious smile and oral health. Some of the most vital diet components to healthy teeth and gums include:
You may know the numerous smile benefits in calcium rich dairy like milk and yogurt, but did you know cheese is one of the best choices? Aside from being high in essential minerals like calcium and phosphorous, cheese is also anticariogenic, meaning it protects against dental decay. The latest studies show cheese consumption helps:
- Reduce damaging increases in acidity of plaque surrounding teeth.
- Replace calcium and phosphorous in the mouth lost through acidic damage.
- Strengthen tooth enamel.
- Produce more beneficial saliva.
- Provide casein to protect tooth enamel.
Many of the vitamins and minerals your child’s teeth require can be found in nuts. Some of the most helpful include:
- Almonds (calcium for teeth and gums)
- Cashews (boosts saliva to cleanse teeth)
- Peanuts (calcium and vitamin D)
- Walnuts (fiber, folic acid, iron, vitamin E, magnesium, niacin, potassium, zinc, thiamine, vitamin B6)
Vitamins A, C and D, as well as calcium and phosphorus, are fundamental in excellent oral health. Look for these nutrients when choosing foods for your child. Many foods contain high levels of these vitamins and minerals including:
- Leafy green vegetables (spinach, kale, romaine, greens, Swiss chard)
- Fortified cereal
- Whole grains
Foods and Drinks to Avoid
Trying to find healthy foods your child likes to eat can be difficult. When considering your choices for your child’s balanced, healthful diet, please remember to avoid the following foods when possible. Your child’s bright smile for years to come will be all the reward you need!
- 1. SOFT DRINKS & SPORTS DRINKS
- 2. HIGH STARCH
- 3. VITAMINS & VITAMIN WATER
- 4. GOOEY, STICKY SWEETS
- 5. CITRUS FRUITS
- 6. DRIED FRUITS
- 7. ACIDIC FRUIT DRINKS
Candy is bad for children’s teeth. It is full of harmful sugar and sticks to teeth for a long time, allowing decay to begin. While this is not breaking news, it’s good to remember all that “candy” encompasses:
- Hard candy (suckers, lollipops)
- Fruit snacks
- Sweet drinks
- Sticky candy (caramel, toffee, gum)
- Baked sweets (cakes, sticky buns, cinnamon rolls, pies)
- Sour candy (especially bad because of high acid content too)
If your child eats candy occasionally as a special treat, try to always offer a drink of water afterward to rinse as much of the sugar and acid away from teeth.
Just like citrus fruits, citrus juice contains large amounts of corrosive citric acid. Consume these as part of a meal or rinse with a few sips of water after the juice. Your child should drink any juice in moderation with the American Academy of Pediatrics recommending no more than:
- One to six years old – four to six ounces per day
- Seven to eighteen years old – eight to twelve ounces per day
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