The Nutrition/Smile Connection
You know that healthy food choices contribute to a healthy body. What you eat also impacts your smile. It’s important to teach kids good habits that benefit oral and overall health. Dr. Bevin Malley of Carolina Kids Dentistry wants to keep your child’s smile strong and cavity free. Here are few tips to help you make smart choices for your child.
A Three-Pronged Approach
When it comes to your child’s nutrition, keep three things in mind:
- Foods your child should eat
- Foods your child should limit
- The frequency of snacking
First, let’s discuss health choices for your child. Of course, fruits and vegetables are always good options. Encourage your child to eat these foods at meals and as snacks. Some fruits, such as pears, watermelon, and celery, have a high water content and are good alternatives to sugary, starchy foods. Try to limit fruits that contain elevated levels of sugar, such as bananas and raisins. If your child does eat these foods, encourage brushing afterwards.
Secondly, steer clear of sticky foods that can adhere to teeth. When foods stick to teeth, it’s hard for saliva to wash away the sugar. When sugar remains on teeth, the risk of cavities increases. Kids love sugar (adults do, too), so it’s hard to eliminate all sugary foods from a child’s diet. Serving these types of foods with meals – maybe for dessert – can minimize the risk of sugar “sitting” on teeth because of increased saliva flow during mealtime.
Third, limit the frequency with which your child snacks. Studies have shown that it’s the time that sugars and starches remain on teeth that raise the risk of dental decay. Allowing time between snacks lets saliva perform one of its main functions – washing away food particles and bacteria. Constantly snacking on foods doesn’t let saliva do its job. Instead, it fuels the bacteria that cause cavities.
At Carolina Kids Dentistry, we’re your ally in the fight to protect your child’s smile! We’ll give you tips on how to encourage healthy eating habits. Call us today.