Worst foods that May affect kids’ oral health this festive season

oral health

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 


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.


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.


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.


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?


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.

Also check, How to absorb more calcium and Vitamin D in the body?


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.


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.

Also check, How to cook a vitamin A food to extract more vitamin?


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.

Also check, What is the easiest way to meet Vitamin C requirement for the day?


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Oral Health of Kids: Tooth Decay Remedies at Home

Teeth are one of the most vital parts of our body. They help us to bite and chew food. Healthy and beautiful teeth give us a bright and beautiful smile. It is important to take care of them from childhood. It is the time when kids are filled with adventure, exploration and growth. Little bit of ignorance and carelessness can create a life long suffering. Playing or climbing here and there can end up with a broken tooth. Slow formation of plaque can result in a cavity. One of the most concerning issues in toddlers and kids are dental cavities. Tooth decay is most common among children. Some tooth decay remedies at home can provide quick relief but, your little bit of attention to the developing symptoms can save your child from unwanted pain and trouble.

Common Dental Issues in Kids
Tooth decay

Children are not proficient at brushing and flossing teeth without supervision. You should help them in holding and brushing teeth until they firmly learn to grasp the tooth brush. To make it a regular practice you have to tell them in the initial stage to brush teeth twice a day. Generally kids love a sugar loaded diet. It forms a layer of plaque over teeth that eats away the enamel which is the main cause of tooth decay. Making your kids brush their teeth properly can help in removing plaque, bacteria and food particles from their teeth and thus prevent early tooth decay. (Why brushing teeth should be part of night time routine?)

Tooth sensitivity

Tooth sensitivity is another major dental issue that kids may face. Many factors can be responsible for sensitivity. It can be uncomfortable and distracting for your child. It is important to take your child for dental check-up at least twice in a year to diagnose the underlying causes. Some factors that can cause tooth sensitivity are:

  • Cavities
  • Newly erupting permanent teeth
  • Teeth grinding
  • Plaque formation
  • Cracked filling
Dental emergencies

Dental emergencies are something that can happen anytime. While participating in sports activities, during rough fights with siblings, falling while learning riding cycle or bike or any other unexpected accidents can be a reason for dental emergencies. All these can result in cracking, breaking or teeth chipping. In worst scenarios teeth can be knocked out permanently. Mouth guard is a good option to prevent sports related tooth injuries. Parents have to keep an eye on their children while they are playing to avoid such injuries.

Gingivitis and Gum Diseases

Generally people think that gum diseases only occur in adults. But, it is quite common in kids also. Gingivitis is a precursor of gum disease. Red swollen gums, little bit bleeding while brushing or flossing are some of the symptoms of gum diseases. It is mostly common in children with poor oral hygiene. It can be avoided by taking proper care and brushing and flossing daily.

Bad breath

The bacteria in our mouth feeds on leftover food, fluid and plaque and produces hydrogen sulfide, which leads to a bad smell in the mouth. In children, it is most common in the morning when they wake up. Brushing your teeth before going to bed at night can prevent this problem to a large extent. Other than that, cleaning your tongue and using an antibacterial mouthwash can also help.

Excessive thumb sucking

We have often seen infants, toddlers and kids sucking their thumbs or pacifiers. They use it as a means to soothe irritations and anxiety. It’s not a problem until it becomes a habit. Prolonged thumb sucking can affect the development of teeth in kids or can create problems with teeth alignment. It can cause open bite. The upper and lower front teeth don’t meet due to the thumb thus do not fit together properly. Another problem that can be caused due to thumb sucking is that upper incisor teeth may be tipped forward. This may make it difficult for your child to bite or chew or even can affect the kid’s speech. Parents should break this habit after the baby crosses the infant stage.

How to clean baby’s gums:

Babies don’t have teeth as they are born. So there is no need to use a toothbrush or toothpaste for cleaning mouth. But, you can brush their gums to establish the habit of oral hygiene. Take a clean damp cloth, fix it in your index finger and run it slowly and smoothly over the baby’s gums and tongue. Just doing this twice a day would be enough. There is no need to use any product in their mouth. As the baby starts teething, initially you can use only water to clean their mouth. As they get several teeth, this is the time when you can put a tiny amount of fluoride free toothpaste on a toothbrush with soft bristles and teach them how to hold and brush their teeth.

Foods to strengthen kid’s teeth
Vitamin C

There are many things your kids eat during the day. They can develop different kinds of bacteria in the kid’s mouth which can cause gingivitis first stage gum disease. Vitamin C rich foods such as oranges, kiwis, papayas, limes, tomatoes and sweet potatoes can help to kill these bacteria. It also promotes a healthy supply of collagen in gums. (Role of vitamin C in building immunity)


Calcium is one of the most important nutrients for healthy teeth. It strengthens the hard outer shell of the tooth called enamel, which is the defense against erosion and cavities. Calcium rich food like milk, cheese, broccoli and other milk products are the best food sources for kid’s healthy teeth development. (What are calcium rich foods?)

Chewable vegetables

Cucumbers, green beans, peas, raw carrots are some foods which can mechanically cleans teeth by just chewing them. Chewing these foods can vanish the layer of plaque naturally. Encourage your kids to chew these foods slowly to get their teeth clean. (Recipe of carrot beetroot pasta sauce)

Egg yolk

Eggs are one of the highest natural sources of vitamin D. Just one whole large egg provides 50% of vitamin D required for the day. It helps to maintain strong bones and teeth. Those who can may opt for fish (salmon, sardines) also as a source of vitamin D. (Vitamin D rich foods for building strong bones)


Moringa is a superfood. It has 3 times more calcium than milk which makes it an excellent food to treat weak or damaged bones and also one of the best non-dairy sources of calcium. Some studies also indicate that moringa can heal damaged bones thus making it a must have calcium rich foods for bones and teeth. Dried moringa leaf powder has 17 times more vitamin D than fortified milk. In addition to this, it’s a fix for digestion troubles, immunity and iron. (Science based health benefits of moringa)

Tooth Decay Remedies At Home
Warm Salt Water

It is considered as one of the effective first line tooth decay remedies at home for toothache. As a natural disinfectant salt water helps to release food particles by loosening, that may be stuck in between teeth. It also heals internal wounds and reduces inflammation. You can take warm water and mix ½ teaspoon of salt in it. Use it as a mouthwash thrice a day.


It has been used from ages to treat toothaches. Clove contains a natural antiseptic Eugenol. Clove oil numbs the pain effectively and reduces inflammation. Dab a small amount of cotton in clove oil and fix it in a cavity hole or apply on the affected area. You can also make a mouthwash by adding a drop of this oil into a glass of water. It is one of the best tooth decay remedies at home for toothache.

Guava Leaves

Guava leaves have antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties that heals wounds and can help in oral care. You can chew fresh guava leaves or boil them to make a mouthwash.


Garlic has been known for its medicinal properties from past thousands of years. It can be used as pain reliever in toothache. It can kill plaque forming bacteria and protect teeth from cavities. You can make paste and apply it on the affected area to get relief. It is also considered as one of the effective tooth decay remedies at home which can provide relief from toothache instantly.


Asafetida and lemon juice is one of the common home remedies for toothache. Mix asafetida with warm lemon juice and apply on the affected tooth. Use this after every 30 minutes until the pain subsides.


It is a widely used herb for dental health as it acts as a breath freshener and teeth whitener. Recent scientific studies have found that peppermint fights bacteria inside your mouth which causes gum disease. Peppermint oil is an effective way to reduce plaque (a combination of bacteria, food particles, saliva and acid that sticks to the teeth). Rinsing with diluted peppermint oil can prevent bad breath and toothache also. (What are some ayurvedic herbs to build immunity?)


Traditionally neem sticks were used as toothbrushes. It has a high place in the traditional medicine world. Due to its antibacterial properties, neem is considered to treat bacteria and heal. It is quite useful in dentistry for curing gingival (tissues which provide a seal around teeth) problems and maintaining oral health in a natural way. Neem is an additive in some branded toothpastes nowadays. Neem oil has antibacterial and antifungal properties that can prevent gum inflammation and toothache. It is one of the known tooth decay remedies since ages.

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