The Role of Diet in Children’s Dental Health: Everything you need to Know

August 1, 2023

What we feed our kids directly affects their dental health in the long term. Without the proper nutrients, minerals and vitamins, your child’s gum and teeth become more susceptible to tooth decay and gum infections. According to experts at Children’s Dentistry in Gillette, WY, starting your child with the importance of proper diet early will encourage them to adopt the habit for a lifetime.

How Diet Plays an Important Role in Children’s Dental Health

Unhealthy drinking and eating will weaken gums and teeth and cause dental issues. Diet affects our overall well-being and oral health. Feeding your children proper nutrition will create a fewer risk chance of them getting health issues such as periodontal infections, cavities and obesity. Healthy foods for your kids and teenagers include:

  • Foods high in fibre, such as vegetables and fruits like apples. Apples contain vitamin C and other nutrients that will protect your kids’ teeth from bacterial infections and cell damage. They also help in removing plaque.
  • Dairy products like milk, ghee and yogurt are excellent sources of phosphorous and calcium that protect the tooth enamel.
  • Greens and leafy vegetables are excellent sources of folic acid that promote gum and tooth health.
  • Give them water instead of carbonated or sugary drinks. Soda and juices have a high sugar content that may promote tooth decay. Get your child in the habit of taking tap water. Tap water is a good source of fluoride that will help strengthen and protect teeth from bacteria and sugar. Water also helps to wash out food particles and harmful agents.
  • Keep your kids away from starchy, sticky foods and sugary beverages. Sticky foods such as caramel tend to stick on the teeth and gums and can be challenging to wash out. Sugary foods will coat your teeth with sugar and cause tooth decay. Encourage your child to brush their teeth after taking these foods and try to shift their focus to sugar-free foods.

Do’s and Don’ts for Maintaining Children’s Dental Health

Here are dos and don’ts to help your kids’ teeth remain pearly white and healthy.

Regular Dental Visits

Cavities are a common occurrence in children, and they are preventable. If your child is at a higher risk of getting cavities and tooth decay, visit their pediatric dentist more than twice a year. Our dentist at 82716 recommends that parents start taking their kids to the dentist by their first birthday. Starting early allows your kid to be educated on proper oral care and diet.

Establish a Proper Oral Routine Journey Early

You don’t have to wait until your kid has developed multiple teeth to start a proper oral routine with them. You can clean your infant’s gums after feeding by wiping them using a clean wet cloth. Wrap the fabric around your index finger and gently massage their gum tissue. Once their teeth have sprouted, get them a dentist-recommended toothbrush.

Monitor Their Brushing and Flossing

Kids are also supposed to floss and brush their teeth twice a day. You should monitor and help your kid manage their oral care routine until they are about seven or eight years old.

Avoid Punishing Your Kids Whenever They Skip Brushing

It’s frustrating for most parents whose kids have a habit of skipping their oral hygiene routine. Understand that it’s a process which, with time, they will learn to embrace and learn the impotence of it. Don’t punish your kids when they fail to brush or floss their teeth to avoid creating negative associations with oral hygiene.

Don’t Let Them Sneak Snack

Establish a regular snack routine for your kids to limit their sugary and acidic food intake. Avoid sending them to bed with a cup of milk or juice; this will erase the established oral routine.

Don’t Overuse Fluoride

Fluoride in toothpaste helps strengthen tooth enamel, limit the growth of bacteria, prevent cavities and reverse the early stages of tooth decay. However, too much intake of fluoride can lead to fluorosis. Fluorosis is a cosmetic condition triggered by excess fluoride intake and usually starts to show during your kid’s first eight years when their permanent teeth begin to develop. Fluorosis causes teeth discoloration ranging from yellow to dark brown.

Our pediatric experts at Mountain West Dental will guide you on how to give your kid a more personalized oral hygiene routine. Together with your child’s general medical doctor, our dentist works together to create a tooth-healthy diet. For more information, visit our dental offices near you.

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