Healthy Food, Healthy Teeth: Foods to Feed Your Kids and Strengthen Their Teeth

Assortment of fresh fruits and vegetables

Sugar and junk food don’t just blow up your kid’s weight. They may cause harm to their teeth too, even if you ensure that they’re brushing at least two times a day. An experienced kid’s dentist will agree, because as we get older, the minerals in our teeth deplete, making them more susceptible to cavities and other issues if we don’t stop consuming unhealthy food.

Therefore, it’s wiser to acclimate your kids to a healthy diet while they’re still young. That way, avoiding junk food and sugars will become second nature to them when they grow up. However, like most parents, you’re probably worrying about how to make your child eat a healthy meal, too. Kids tend to dislike healthy food and have a natural inclination to sweets.

Nonetheless, it’s not a reason to stop trying. Here are the healthiest and tastiest food types your kids and their teeth will love:

  1. Fiber-rich Fruits and Vegetables

The American Dental Association (ADA) highly recommends fiber-rich foods because they help keep the gums and teeth clean. They also maintain the flow of the saliva, which is the teeth’s natural defense against cavities and gum disease. Saliva is laced with calcium and phosphate, minerals that strengthen the bones and teeth.

Fiber-rich fruits and vegetables include low-sodium black beans, sweet potatoes, bananas, strawberries, avocados, apples, and carrots. However, keep their fruit and fruit juice consumption in moderation too, especially if those fruits are acidic, like oranges and grapefruits. The acid on those fruits creates a calcium chelation process on the tooth enamel, or simply put, the acid binds to the calcium and strips it away. Hence, focus on the fiber-rich, non-acidic fruits.

  1. Dairy Products

Great news for parents with kids who love cheese, because dairy products, such as plain yogurt, low-fat or fat-free milk, and cheese also supply the teeth with calcium and phosphate. Choose your yogurt carefully though, because it can be a sneaky source of sugar. Pick Greek yogurt to be sure that you’re getting one with zero added sugars. Some are flavored with just fruit, but the plain variety is the best. Just add some sweetness and color using berries, and put in some whole-grain cereals too for a fiber boost.

If your kid is lactose-intolerant, give them soy milk instead, which is loaded with more protein. It also contains the same level of calcium and vitamin D as cow’s milk if it’s fortified.

It’s not necessary, however, to feed your kids dairy every day. Like some fruits, lactose can also increase the acidity in your kid’s mouth and harm their teeth. But if you’re giving them soy milk, then their teeth should be safer.

  1. Vitamin C

Vitamin C strengthens the gums and boosts the immune system. Citrus fruits, tomatoes, potatoes, broccoli, peppers, and spinach are some healthy vitamin C sources, but again, keep citrus fruits in moderation. Better yet, feed them more berries instead; raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries are high in vitamin C and lower in sugar. If they’re not in season, buy unsweetened frozen ones, and mix them into a jar of overnight oats or a healthy smoothie.

  1. Sugarless Chewing Gum

Thankfully, not all candies turn out to be bad for your kid’s teeth. Sugarless chewing gum may promote teeth remineralization, as it helps remove sugar, plaque, and carbs from the teeth. It may also protect the teeth from mineral loss, especially if the gum contains xylitol and sorbitol. Make your kids chew sugarless gum after or in between meals.

  1. Foods with Fluoride

Fluoride is a common ingredient in toothpaste, but some food has it too. There’s fluoridated drinking water, fluoridated powdered juices (without a lot of sugar), and dehydrated soups. Commercially-manufactured foods, including poultry, seafood, and powdered cereals may also contain fluoride.

  1. Probiotics

Yogurt and other probiotic sources are known for improving gut health, but they can also help with the teeth’s remineralization process. However, you have to choose probiotics that are naturally produced in the mouth, such as bifidobacterium, reuteri, rhamnosus, and salivarus. Have your kid take them daily for the best results.

  1. Foods with Phosphorus

Aside from fruits and vegetables, eggs, lean meat, nuts, and fish are also excellent sources of phosphorus. Make your kid an avocado-egg toast for breakfast, fish or lean meat for lunch, and some nuts for snack. If they’re allergic to nuts, replace it with sunflower or pumpkin seeds.

  1. Water

Water may not be an exciting drink, but it contains pretty much everything our whole body needs to stay healthy. Rinsing your mouth with water already prevents the demineralization of the teeth, so if your kid is out without a toothbrush with them, simply instruct them to rinse and gargle with water. This technique is especially helpful when they’re just eaten sugary or acidic snacks.

Feeding your kids with healthy food shouldn’t be too hard when they’re flavorful and appetizing to look at. Enjoy preparing them, and all your efforts will definitely pay off.

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Categorized as Health

By Finn

Finn Oliver Edwards: Finn, a pediatric nurse, shares child health tips, parenting advice, and preventive measures for common childhood illnesses.