Do you know which foods cause tooth decay in kids? Do holidays influence the oral health of your kid? Sweets are unavoidable, particularly during festive seasons like Diwali! However, protecting your kid’s teeth and maintaining their oral health is also crucial. Continue reading to know about some foods which are worst for your kid’s teeth and tips to maintain oral health.
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Why is oral health important?
Germs are often kept in check by the body’s own defence mechanisms and maintenance of oral health. But without good dental hygiene, bacteria may build up to the extreme where they cause cavities and pain. Oral health has an impact on overall health of the body. For example, Diabetic patients seem to experience gum disease more frequently and severely. Proper dental care can help to regulate diabetes.
foods that affect children’s oral health
It’s crucial for parents to be aware of the foods that are the worst for children’s teeth. Here are some of the foods that can cause cavities in kids:
Sweets and desserts are high in sugar. They tend to adhere to your teeth and get stuck there. Your mouth has microorganisms that naturally convert carbohydrates to acid. As a result, the protective coating of our teeth called enamel will be eroded and cause cavities. However, sugar has many positives and contains healthy nutrients, if you take it in its natural form. In processed form, large intake of sugar in the form of candies, sweets, lollipops, jellies etc can harm the growth and performance of a child. Sugar not only affects the oral health but also damages the protein in our body, resulting in ageing of organs, which further compromises immunity, growth and functioning. Regular flossing can also help remove the residual particles from the teeth.
Also check, Healthy alternatives of sugar
2. CITRUS FRUITS
Fruit supplies nutrients including vitamins, minerals, dietary fibre, and phytonutrients, which keep your kid healthy and prevent chronic conditions. But not all the fruits are beneficial for oral health. Citrus fruits like lemon, oranges or berries have high acidity. These acids erode away the enamel of the tooth and increase the risk of cavities in children. While drinking citrus juices, insist your kid to use straw to avoid the reaction of acid in the teeth. Also, assist them to their mouth with water after drinking the juice which can neutralise the acid.
3. STARCHY FOODS
Children love to eat starchy foods like chips, biscuits, pasta, noodles, bread, pizza etc. Although these foods aren’t bad, their stickiness makes them prone to become stuck between teeth. Additionally, they may have higher amounts of simple sugar than you know and damage the teeth’s enamel.
4. CARBONATED DRINKS
Carbonated drinks are popular among both kids and adults. Most of these drinks are loaded with sugar and are very acidic. It has no advantage in improving the body’s health and nutrition but it influences the damage of teeth’s enamel. Rinsing aids in reducing any extra sugar that adheres to teeth.
5. CANNED FRUITS
Fruits like peaches, apples, pineapples etc are usually soaked in sugar syrups while canning. The sugar syrup in the canned fruits will coat every tooth and gradually erode the enamel. This increases the probability of getting cavities.
Pickles add flavour to your food but are bad for your oral health. It contains vinegar which is highly acidic and causes tooth damage.
Popcorn is the favourite movie time snack for everyone from kids to adults. However, the corn kernels will get trapped between your teeth, it can be challenging to remove them. It will eventually cause infection in the mouth.
Tips to maintain the oral health
Brushing is essential for maintaining oral health to prevent cavities as well as bad breath. You can motivate your kids to maintain a good oral hygiene by following the below steps,
- Encourage your kid to brush twice (morning and night)
- Give them tiny soft bristle toothbrushes.
- Till 1 year of age, carefully massage your kid’s gums with a clean soft towel.
- Once the first tooth erupts, cleanse its surface with water and a baby toothbrush.
- Allow your child to brush himself with toothpaste at 2 years
- Ensure that they are cleaning the corners of their mouth
- Make sure they are properly flossing and rinsing after brushing their teeth.
- Teach them to rinse their mouth after eating anything.
Also check, Benefits of coconut oil for oral hygiene
Key vitamins and minerals for dental health
Diet plays a significant role in teeth development in babies and toddlers. What your child eats affects their teeth. Too much carbohydrates, sugar and starch can cause tooth decay. As a parent it is your responsibility to encourage your child to make healthy food choices.
Calcium is the key building block for teeth and bones. It helps to harden your enamel and help teeth fight off erosion and cavities. Dairy products including milk, yogurt and cheese are good sources of calcium, but always try less sugar or no sugar varieties as sugar can promote tooth decay. So give more calcium rich foods as soon as the teething age in babies starts.
Also check, What are some calcium rich foods?
2. VITAMIN D:
Vitamin D is very important for your dental health as it allows your body to absorb calcium. It plays a key promoting dental health and helping prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Deficiency of vitamin D can make kids’ teeth prone to decay. By spending about 15 to 20 minutes in sunlight each day can meet your daily requirement of vitamin D. You can also consume foods such as fortified milk, egg, fish that are rich in vitamin D.
Like calcium and vitamin D, Phosphorus is also a key mineral for strong teeth. 85% of your body’s phosphorus content lies in your teeth and bones. Phosphorus also helps your body to absorb calcium, which aids in building strong bones, teeth and rebuilding tooth enamel. Daily need of phosphorus can be achieved by consuming foods such as pumpkin seeds, whole grains, soybean, fish and egg.
4. VITAMIN A:
Not only for eye sight, vitamin A is equally important for your dental health. Vitamin A helps your salivary glands to keep active which aids to prevent tooth decay. It also promotes saliva production in your mouth which is crucial for cleaning away bacteria and food particles between teeth and gums. Foods rich in vitamin A are sweet potato, carrot, yellow fruits like mango, papaya, apricot, eggs, and cheese.
5. VITAMIN C:
It is required for both teeth and gum health. Vitamin C helps keep the connective tissues in your gums healthy and strong, which hold your teeth in place. By consuming any of the citrus fruits like oranges, grapes, guava, kiwi, and lemon you can meet daily requirements of vitamin C.
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