Diet & Nutrition
Is Diet & Nutrition important for kids dental care?
Yes! Stickier foods, foods that are higher in carbohydrates, and processed foods are more readily broken down by the bacteria in the mouth and can lead to the process of starting decay.
Some of these foods include:
Candy & Chocolate
As with all foods, including those listed above, try to avoid leaving food residue in the mouth for too long. Rinse with water, wipe down the teeth with a clean wet towel, and, if your child is old enough, consider chewing a sugar free gum with Xylitol in it. (But watch how much gum you are giving initially as too much Xylitol can sometimes induce diarrhea.)
Recommended Frequency of Eating
Our recommendation is for 3 meals and 2 snacks a day. Snacking 3 or more times a day puts your child at a higher risk for cavities.
Also, try not to let your kids graze on foods for a prolonged period of time. Have them sit and eat, and when they are done take the food away. This practice is especially important because it allows your child’s mouth to recover and help reduce the acid created from the bacteria that can harm your child’s teeth.
By constantly eating, your child’s mouth never gets the chance to recover and will remain acidic, which can lead to decay.
Training Your Child's Palate Early
Some children are picky eaters and it can be challenging for parents. We like to stick with the motto, “I provide, you decide.” You offer healthy choices and let your child decide from those options!
Introducing healthier food options early on is a great way to get children excited about eating the right way into adulthood.
Juice vs. Whole Foods
Kids like drinking juice a lot, but the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends:
4 oz of juice per day for toddlers age 1-3
4-6 oz for children age 4-6.
Unless your child has specific dietary recommendations from a physician, it is always better to offer whole fruit than its juice form. An apple contains all the nutrients and fiber with less sugar than apple juice. Try a smoothie packed with some fresh leafy greens and whole fruit for a tasty and healthy treat!