Dental health isn’t built by brushing your teeth every day. It also depends on the food you eat. This fact is especially true for children. Young kids tend to keep the diets they’ve had to adulthood. If you start them out when they begin solid food, chances are they’ll continue it throughout the years. But what kinds of food are good for your child’s teeth?
Previously, we took note of some tips that can help your child eat healthy for their teeth. For the most part, these guidelines still stand. Once your baby’s ready for solid food, you’ll want to cut back on anything sugary. But what exactly should you feed them? Here are some suggestions.
A whole food a day keeps the dentist away
Your teeth, like much of your body, needs nutrients to help strengthen them against disease. Whole foods are a type of food that is unprocessed. Because they are mostly unrefined, they tend to keep most of their vitamins and nutrients. Whole foods are then perfect for young children who are starting on solids.
While babies can only start with baby cereal during the first few months, you can slowly incorporate whole food purées as they grow older. Apples, for instance, are high in fiber that can brush away plaque buildup. Adding bits of apple purée into your child’s baby cereal not only accustoms them to the taste but also gives them the dental benefits while they’re still young.
Aside from fruits, you can vary your child’s diet by adding some vegetables to the mix as well. Some veggies you could try are carrots, broccoli, and other leafy greens. Carrots, like apples, are also a great source of fiber, while broccoli and leafy vegetables are rich in tooth-friendly nutrients.
When the baby is old enough to feed themselves, you can also experiment with finger foods like a chopped boiled egg and shredded cheese. Eggs are a great source of calcium, vitamin D, and other nutrients for the mouth, while cheese aids in salivation.
Avoid foods that are sugary or with an acidic content
When getting your child started on a tooth-healthy diet, it’s essential to know the foods that are both good and bad for the teeth. This knowledge allows you to make flexible, conscious decisions that can help impact your child’s overall dental health.
While we’ve discussed the relationship between sugar and tooth decay time and again, it’s not the only thing that could leave your teeth vulnerable. Food with a high acid content could also harm the teeth’s defenses, as they chip away at tooth enamel. If your child enjoys citrus fruits, you might want to monitor their consumption. Despite their high nutrient content, the citric acid they contain is not suitable for the teeth.
Foods made with simple carbohydrates are also a little suspect, as it is easier to break them down into simple sugars. If your child is starting on bread and pasta, go for more whole-wheat products. Whole-wheat or whole-grain products do not break down as quickly as simple carbs do, making them less likely to tack on sugar to your teeth.