Protecting the dental health of children is important, and what they eat plays a large role in their oral health. Here are 5 dentist-approved foods to add to your child’s lunch that will not only help their growing teeth, but their overall health too!
Why Healthy Foods Matter
Along with your daily brushing and flossing to care of their teeth, watching what your children eat is important too. Being sure to incorporate nutrient-rich foods can help promote healthy teeth and gums in children.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ Eat Right website recommends incorporating these foods for optimal oral health:
- Calcium-rich foods, like milk, yogurt, cheese, salmon, almonds, dark green leafy veggies and more can help promote strong bones and teeth too!
- Phosphorus, which is found in foods like eggs, fish, lean meat, dairy, nuts, and beans, is good for strong teeth.
- Vitamin C, which can promote gum health. Foods like citrus, tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, potatoes, and spinach are all vitamin C rich.
They also recommend resisting the urge to snack frequently to prevent your teeth from being exposed to more acidity, and avoiding sugary sweets which can cause dental problems like cavities.
5 Foods to Add to Your Child’s Lunch
If you’re looking to add more nutritious foods to your child’s lunch that will help them with their oral health, try adding these options!
Like briefly mentioned above, yogurt is rich in calcium. Calcium can help keep your bones and teeth strong, which is why it’s especially important for those who are still growing up. We recommend incorporating plain yogurt and sweetening to taste with a natural sweetener, like honey.
Eating more nuts will help give your children more exposure to calcium, vitamin D, and phosphorus. Not only are these nutrients good for your child, but the crunch of the nut will help increase saliva production and clean their teeth simultaneously too.
The old saying, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” can be true for dental health too! The vitamins found in apples include vitamin A, B1, B2, B6, C, and more — but that’s not the best part. Apples are also naturally sweet, meaning they can help neutralize acidity found in the mouth. Additionally, chewing an apple is a good way to also stimulate saliva production which helps keep your mouth clean too.
We all know vegetables are good to eat for a number of different health reasons, but did you know they’re also good for dental health? Incorporating foods like spinach and other leafy greens not only provides your kid with a multitude of vitamins and minerals, but it also helps their enamel too. If your kid isn’t big on eating their greens, try adding a small amount to a smoothie or adding them as a topping on pizza. Get creative!
Everyone loves cheese, right? If you’re child is a cheese lover like us, this is good news! According to Colgate, cheese has been shown to raise the pH in a person’s mouth, which helps lower their risk of tooth decay. Loaded with calcium and protein, cheese also strengthens the enamel and helps keep the mouth clean.
Caring for Little Teeth
Eating right isn’t enough to keep your child’s mouth healthy as they transition from baby teeth to adult teeth. The American Dental Association’s Mouth Healthy site states that a child’s dental care routine should include:
- Brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste to prevent cavities. For children older than 3, use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste and make sure your child is brushing for 2 minutes.
- Flossing between their teeth once daily to get rid of stuck food. Using floss each day can help prevent cavities from forming between teeth.
- See your dentist regularly. Children should begin seeing their dentist regularly as soon as they get their first tooth. Your dentist will be able to look out for signs of cavities or excessive plaque, which is why it’s good to see the dentist often.
- Ask your dentist about a fluoride and sealants: sealants are a special coating that goes into the grooves of your child’s molars and helps prevent cavities. A fluoride treatment helps protect teeth from cavities too!
Come See Dr. Ashley
Sometimes adding an apple a day or eating a salad isn’t enough to keep your teeth as healthy as they need to be. Dr. Ashley Niles here at Niles Family Dentistry is here for you and your family, no matter your age. If your child needs a dentist, or even if you do, call today to make an appointment: (720)-744-0001. She can go over more healthy foods for your child to eat, how to best care for their teeth, and more. Don’t put your child’s dental health off — come see us!