Here at Children’s Dental Center, we often emphasize how important a good dental hygiene routine is, especially for children. Brushing and flossing daily is one of the best ways to keep your teeth clean and your whole mouth healthy, which is one reason we encourage it so strongly. However, this is only one part of the equation when it comes to optimal oral health. As it turns out, the phrase “you are what you eat” applies to your smile just as much as your body!
As adults, most of us know that acidic food and drink can chip away at tooth enamel, too much sugar can lead to decay, and starchy foods can linger in your mouth a lot longer than you would like. What you may not know is that there are a number of foods that can actually help promote a healthier mouth. If your kids are already flossing and brushing regularly, making sure they’re eating the right kind of food can further strengthen their teeth and keep cavities at bay. To learn more about how you can help your child eat their way to a healthier smile, check out this list of foods that will keep their teeth in tip-top shape and improve their dental health.
An apple a day won’t just keep the doctor away – it can keep your child out of the dentist’s chair, too! Apples have a high water content, and eating them stimulates the production of saliva. This helps to rid the mouth of bacteria and stray food particles. The fiber found in apples can also stimulate the gums, and acts as a mild astringent for teeth, brightening them gently and naturally. Encourage your kids to eat apples whole, though, since many of the best oral benefits are found in the skin.
Like apples, crunchy carrots are full of fiber, and eating them encourages the production of saliva. This is known as the mouth’s natural cleanser since it helps wash away any sugar or food debris left in your mouth after eating, reducing the acids that eat at tooth enamel. Speaking of enamel, the vitamin A found in carrots helps build it up, further protecting your teeth from damage.
We admit it – celery can be pretty bland, and not everybody loves those pesky strings that get stuck in between your teeth. However, this watery vegetable is an excellent source of vitamins A and C! Antioxidants give gums a healthy boost, and the fiber found in the stalks can act like a toothbrush, scraping food particles and bad bacteria off your child’s teeth.
Bones aren’t the only part of the body that love calcium. It also plays an important role in helping teeth maintain their structure, and contributes to the remineralization process in the teeth. A lack of calcium can lead to tooth decay, so including it as a regular part of your child’s daily diet is an easy way to add some extra protection.
Most kids love cheese, which is a good thing, because eating it can raise the pH in their mouths and lower the risk for tooth decay. The calcium and protein content also strengthen the tooth enamel. If cheese is off the table, plain yogurt with no added sugar is another great choice for healthy teeth. It’s also high in calcium and protein, and has an added boost of beneficial bacteria from probiotics. These can help crowd out the bad bacteria that causes cavities.
It’s hardly a surprise to find leafy greens on this list since they’re a health food staple, thanks to their low-calorie count and wealth of vitamins and minerals. Dark greens like kale, spinach, and Swiss chard also help promote oral health. The high calcium content builds up the enamel of the teeth, and they contain folic acid, a B vitamin that has numerous health benefits. The antioxidants and vitamins found in these power-packed veggies help combat cavities while also serving as a source of calcium to keep teeth strong.
When it comes to foods that contribute to a healthy mouth, your child has permission to go nuts! Almonds, cashews, walnuts, etc. are loaded with a variety of vitamins and minerals that benefit the teeth, including omega-3 fatty acids that strengthen teeth and support healthy gum tissue. Almonds in particular are full of good stuff, including calcium, fiber, vitamin E, manganese, and magnesium.
Calcium has been proven to keep the teeth strong and healthy, and for those suffering from inflammation in the mouth, vitamin E can help relieve it. Because nuts are naturally low in sugar, they’re a great snacking choice for older children. Be aware, though: eating whole nuts can sometimes cause cracked or chipped teeth, so we encourage you to serve them chopped or sliced to keep your child’s teeth safe.
Keep your child’s smile healthy from the inside out with Children’s Dental Center
A diet that’s rich in fruits, vegetables, and a moderate amount of dairy, can go a long way towards giving your child the nutrients needed to stay healthy and protect their teeth and gums. Between the good foods they’re eating, a thorough dental hygiene routine, and regular dental appointments with our office, your child will be well on their way to creating a smile that shines from the inside out!
If you’re in Memphis or the Mid-South and want to learn more about how healthy food and top-quality dental care can give your child a smile they’ll want to share with the world, get in touch with us today to request an appointment. We’ll be happy to work with you and your family to discover your child’s healthiest, happiest smile!