It’s never too early to help your child make healthy food choices. Establishing good nutritional habits as soon as possible sets the stage for good eating habits for the rest of their life. To make sure you’re starting your child on the road to good oral health for a lifetime, consider these nutrition tips:
Avoid Sugary Drinks
Not surprisingly, consuming sugary beverages can wreak havoc on a child’s mouth. The most common culprits are sports drinks and energy drinks. Plaque combined with sugar produces an acid that attacks tooth enamel and causes decay. As an alternative, offer your child beverages like water, milk, and fruit and vegetable juices.
Eat Plenty of Fruits and Vegetables
The nutrients found in fruits and vegetables are essential to your child’s growth. Similarly, foods with protein or whole grains, as well as dairy products are great options for promoting a healthy mouth. Some fruits and vegetables are better than others, however. For example, bananas and raisins have a higher amount of sugar than foods like pears, melons, celery and cucumbers.
Reserve foods like candy and snacks containing starch for a once-in-a-while treat. And avoid foods that contain sugars and starches, such as breads, crackers, pretzels and potato chips, which can linger on the teeth. It’s best to try to keep snacking to only a few nutritious options per day, as time between meals allows saliva to wash away pieces of food and bacteria that can lead to plaque and tooth decay.
Offer Sugar-Free Gum
According to The American Dental Association, sugar-free gum can actually be good for oral health. It increases saliva flow and washes away food debris, as well as neutralizing bacteria-causing acids. Just be sure to wait until your child is old enough to chew gum.
In addition to brushing twice a day and flossing regularly, maintaining a healthy diet is essential for keeping your child’s mouth healthy and strong for years to come. To learn more about our Pediatric Dentistry services, contact us or call 212-879-6518. We look forward to hearing from you!