Foods, Beverages, and Your Child’s Teeth
How Certain Foods and Beverages Affect Your Child’s Teeth Body
Caring for your child’s teeth and oral health takes a lot of work, and it’s easy to undo all that work with a bad diet. Many foods are detrimental to your child’s teeth, but others may help keep them clean or promote healthy tooth enamel. If you would like to learn more, keep reading. Sugary Foods and Beverages Sugary foods and beverages include candies, cookies, soda, juice, and much more. They pose a direct threat to teeth because the sugar in the foods combines with the natural bacteria in your child’s mouth. This quickly leads to a sticky film on teeth and gums: plaque. If left on teeth, plaque can wear down enamel and eventually turn into hard tartar. As the enamel wears, your child’s teeth are exposed to sensitivity and decay. One study in Finland found that consuming only one or two sugary drinks a day might increase your chances of tooth decay by 31 percent. In addition, many sugar foods are sticky, like chewy candies. The sticky nature of the food causes it to stick to teeth better, so your child’s natural saliva cannot remove it quickly. The longer the tooth is in contact with the sticky, sugary food, the higher the risk of decay. Carbohydrates The oral bacteria in your child’s mouth love carbohydrates, and it even causes them to create an acid byproduct, which can harm your child’s tooth enamel just like acidic food and beverages. In turn, if your child eats a lot of carbohydrates like white bread, pastries, chips, etc., it is just as bad as eating sugary foods for your child’s oral health. Acidic Foods and Beverages With some foods, it is not just sugar that is the problem. Many food and beverages are acidic, such as soda, citric juices, and citrus fruits. The acid can soften enamel with it meets teeth, which leads to an increased risk of tooth decay and sensitivity as the enamel erodes. The acid is so good at softening enamel that teeth may be too soft for brushing right after your child drinks soda. Brushing could remove some enamel, so your child should wait about an hour before the enamel re-hardens. Fruits and vegetables are great because they do not contain high levels of sugar, and most do not contain high levels of acid. However, they can help your child’s teeth in other ways. First, fruits and vegetables hold a lot of water. This water helps stimulate saliva production, which helps keep the mouth clean naturally. Second, some fruits and vegetables are hard, like apples and carrots. These can actually help remove bits of sugar and plaque when you eat them by scraping against the teeth. Calcium-Rich Foods and Beverages Calcium is crucial to build and keep teeth and enamel healthy. Therefore, calcium-rich foods are a great choice for your child. Naturally, dairy products are one of the easiest ways to get calcium in your child’s diet, and some types of cheese may even clean teeth just like hard fruits and vegetables. However, there are other ways to incorporate calcium, such as canned fish, leafy greens, beans, and broccoli. Plus, you can fortify foods and beverages with calcium by adding supplements if you fear your child isn’t getting enough. Understanding the dangers of some foods and beverages is imperative to keep your child’s teeth and gums healthy. While sugar and carbohydrates may be okay in moderation, a diet heavy in them can ruin your child’s teeth, leading to pain and expensive procedures. If you would like to learn more, or if you want to schedule an appointment, contact us at Kids Choice Dental today.