What Foods Are Best for Your Child’s Teeth?

Good dental health starts early in life. Regular brushing, flossing, and a healthy diet are key strategies for ensuring that your child’s teeth and gums are as healthy as they can be. The food we eat is closely related to our dental health because certain foods cause plaque buildup and cavities–while other foods keep teeth healthy and strong. Teaching your child about the importance of healthy foods for keeping their teeth white and strong helps them practice good dental habits that will serve them well throughout their lives.

Foods that are bad for your child’s teeth include many foods that we typically consider to be “kid-friendly,” such as dried fruit, gummy candies or vitamins, and soft cookies. That’s because these foods have a lot of sugar and are sticky enough to get stuck in the grooves of the teeth. In general, try to avoid foods high in carbohydrates and sugar, as these cause more plaque, which leads to cavities.

The best foods for your child’s teeth are foods high in calcium and fiber. Fruits and vegetables are great because they are low in carbohydrates, high in fiber, and have a high water content, which helps to wash away food residue and bacteria that accumulates in the mouth. Higher-water veggies like cucumbers and bell peppers are particularly good. Broccoli is an especially good food for your child’s teeth because it’s very fibrous and also high in calcium. Other high-calcium foods that keep teeth strong include cheese, low-sugar yogurt, and milk. Try to avoid situations where your child is snacking throughout the day, and instead have designated snack times with low-sugar, low-carbohydrate foods.

What else is good for your child’s teeth? Water. Drinking water frequently helps wash away food, prevents bacteria from gathering in the mouth, and cleans the teeth. In addition, it keeps your child hydrated! We recommend giving your child water instead of juice. Even though juice may have a lot of vitamins, it also has a lot of sugar and acid so, over time, it can wreak havoc on the teeth. For vitamins, choose a high-fiber real fruit option, like orange slices or strawberries.

Of course, we all enjoy treats that aren’t great for the teeth, like candy and cookies, now and then. Just make sure that when your child enjoys this kind of food, she brushes her teeth thoroughly afterwards.