The Best Foods for Strong Teeth in Kids

Don't let food get in the way of having no cavities!

Vitamin C is good for gum health

We’ve heard of foods that enhance brain development. And we know which foods lead to strong bones.  But are there foods that promote a healthy mouth? You bet your pearly whites! And thankfully, the foods that assist with oral hygiene are also excellent foods to have in your diet anyway.

Give your mouth its best chance to shine with:

  1. Fluoridated water. Fluoride helps to prevent your teeth from being attacked by acids, which can lead to cavities. 
  1. Dairy. Milk and cheese may help to neutralize the acid produced by plaque bacteria in your mouth. Milk and cheese also are low in sugar, high in protein, and contain calcium, which are all great for dental health.
  2. Lean meat, poultry, fish, and eggs. These foods contain phosphorus, which, along with calcium, keep tooth enamel strong by remineralizing teeth. This is a process where minerals are redeposited into teeth after being removed by acids. Fatty fish, like salmon, provides polyunsaturated fatty acids, which may help prevent gum disease.
  3. Firm and crunchy fruits and vegetables. The high water content in fruits and vegetables helps to balance the natural sugars that they contain. They also, along with other crunchy foods, stimulate the flow of saliva. This helps to clean teeth by washing away food particles and acids that can harm the teeth. Apples, carrots, celery, and other fibrous/low acid foods actually cleanse the surface of the teeth as you chew, which brushes some bacteria away.  Chewing these foods can also dislodge newly formed plaque. Vitamin C, which is especially high in strawberries and kiwi, is also important for gum tissue health.
  1. Nuts. Nuts offer the benefit of being crunchy, which stimulates the flow of saliva. They also contain protein, which can strengthen the teeth. Nuts also contain polyunsaturated fatty acids which may prevent gum disease.
  2. Green tea. Green tea contains compounds, called “catechins,” that can fight inflammation and control bacterial infections. This can help reduce symptoms of periodontal disease and promote healthy gums.

    A few more tips for a healthy mouth:

    • Avoid candy and other sticky, sugar-filled foods and beverages.
    • Citrus fruits, lemons, tomatoes and other acidic foods should be eaten in a larger meal containing a variety of foods to minimize the effect of the acids they provide.
    • Studies have shown that antioxidants and other nutrients found in fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes may strengthen immunity. This improves the body’s ability to fight bacteria and inflammation, which can help protect the teeth and gums.
    • Do not put babies to bed or down for a nap with a bottle. Milk and formula contain sugars, which can cause tooth decay, especially when allowed to sit on the teeth.
    • Begin cleaning a baby’s gums during the first few days after birth with a clean washcloth or clean, moist gauze pad. Begin brushing the teeth as soon as they appear.

    Lastly, the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that you:

    • Brush your teeth at least two times per day.
    • Replace your toothbrush every three to four months or sooner if it looks worn.
    • Use an ADA-accepted toothpaste containing fluoride.
    • Use floss daily to clean between teeth.  Floss reaches where your toothbrush bristles cannot reach, and it helps to clean away tooth-decay causing bacteria.  It also helps to remove food and plaque from between the teeth and under the gums.
    • Eat a healthy diet and limit between meal snacks.
    • Regularly visit your dentist for professional cleanings and oral exams. 

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