How To Promote Good Oral Health In Children Through What They Eat And Drink
The health of your mouth depends on the health of your teeth, gums and tongue. To keep your mouth healthy, there are a few things you should do regularly when it comes to eating and drinking. The best time to learn good oral health habits is when you’re a child. So, as parents, you’ve got a chance to ensure your children make the right choices for their dental health. It’s a gift that can benefit them throughout their lives.
Of course, we can’t keep children away from every food that might be bad for their teeth. But it’s about making smart choices and developing good habits that will help them for years to come. As such, here are some tips on helping children maintain great oral health through what they eat and drink.
Limit sugary foods and drinks
Limiting sugary foods and drinks is an important part of maintaining good oral health. Sugar can cause tooth decay, cavities and gum disease. It can also lead to bad breath and dry mouth if you eat too much of it. This is perhaps the biggest challenge for parents because sugary food and drinks are everywhere. From birthday parties to every shop you go to, you’ll see soft drinks, chocolates, lollies and a range of other sugary food and drinks marketed heavily.
So, it’s unreasonable to expect that your child is never going to consume a can of cola or some mixed lollies. But you can certainly encourage them to enjoy these things in moderation. Special occasions are fine, but you don’t want them to develop a taste for daily sugar as it can stay with them their whole lives. Limit the amount of sugary food and drinks in the home, and that’s a great start.
Choose water over other drinks
Water is much better for children than sugary drinks. It helps to keep your teeth clean and healthy, and overall, it is the best thing you can drink for good health. Plus, it’s completely free from the tap. If you live in a place where tap water isn’t great for drinking, there are many affordable options for accessing spring water.
As we mentioned before, you don’t need to keep kids away from sugary drinks altogether, but water should be the main drink of choice. Another tip regarding drinks is to always use a straw when drinking those laden with sugar. Sugary drinks ultimately erode tooth enamel, and it becomes painful to eat and drink. A straw reduces the beverage swishing around in your mouth and damaging your teeth. Keep a reusable straw in your bag, and a few handy at home!
Avoid white bread
White bread is high in sugar and low on nutrients, so you’re better off eating a healthier type of bread. White bread is starchy and, like all starchy foods, if it gets stuck between your teeth, the sugars start breaking down and effectively rot your teeth. White bread, in particular, also gets very sticky in your mouth, easily lodging between teeth. If you really love white bread, consider trying multigrain or whole wheat varieties instead. Drink water as you eat it: this will help to ‘rinse’ your mouth.
Be careful with citrus fruits
In most situations, parents would love to see their children choosing fruits over sugary snacks. When dealing with citrus fruits, however, there is a slight risk to your oral health. Citrus fruits are quite acidic, which causes erosion of enamel, gum disease and tooth decay. However, they are also delicious and a great source of vitamin C. While you don’t need to avoid citrus fruits completely, it’s a good idea to drink water simultaneously, as this will help to neutralise the acidic effects.
Limit intake of potato chips
Potato chips are a popular snack food that can be found in many homes and all supermarkets. They’re certainly a tasty treat and popular with kids especially. But they’re also high in sodium, which can contribute to tooth decay and weight gain. In addition, potato chips are high in starch. So, just like white bread, potato chip morsels can get stuck between teeth easily and lead to decay. Of course, your kids are going to have some potato chips from time to time, but it’s a good idea to allow this in moderation.
Increase dairy intake
Dairy products are a natural source of calcium, which is necessary for strong teeth and bones. However, calcium isn’t the only way dairy products can help your oral health. Milk also neutralises acidity in your mouth, so if you have consumed some sugary food and drinks, milk is a good follow-up. Dairy also increases saliva production, which again works to neutralise acids. Plus, consuming a healthy amount of dairy also helps to limit the formation of plaque. If that’s not enough, dairy products can help to put important minerals back into your mouth.
Like anything, many dairy products also include a certain amount of sugar, so it’s crucial not to overdo it with milk and dairy consumption.
Ensure regular dental check-ups for your child
Finally, aside from choosing the right food and drinks, there is one other way to stay on top of your child’s dental health. Here at Parramatta Dental Avenue, we’re your trusted family dentist. Offering a warm, welcoming and comfortable environment and dental services for the whole family, we’d love to help you and your children maintain great dental health.
Ideally, your children should visit the dentist twice a year. This allows your dentist to monitor any changes in your child’s oral health, and suggest treatment sooner rather than later. With the help of your local dentist in Parramatta, you can avoid minor oral health problems becoming more serious. Contact us to make a booking with our friendly team today.