Kids Dentistry

Role of Diet in your Kid’s Oral Health


Last Modified: June 25, 2024


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As a parent, what do you do to ensure that your kid has a healthy & happy smile? Most of your answers would be brushing, flossing or taking them for regular dental visits. But the most overlooked aspect ends up being their DIET. Balanced diet influences both your health along with your oral health. Thus making it a necessity to understand diet in relation with cavities.

Dietary Factors Contributing to Cavities:

  • Sugary and Starchy Foods:
    • Sugary and refined starches contain high amounts of fermented carbohydrates. This becomes a breeding ground for bacteria in the mouth.
    • These oral bacteria produce acids that erode tooth enamel, leading to cavities.
  • Sticky and Chewy Foods:
    • Sticky and chewy foods, such as candy and dried fruits are hard to remove from tooth surface. This prolongs tooth surface exposure to acids produced by cavity causing bacterias.
    • Hard candies and lollipops, being slow dissolving are particularly more harmful.
  • Frequent Snacking:
    • Frequent snacking, exposes the teeth to acid attacks for extended periods of time. This seems to be more aggravated with sugary or starchy foods.
    • There is lesser salivary production during snacking. This makes it harder to neutralize acids and remineralize the tooth enamel layer.

Preventing Cavities through diet:

  • Limit Sugary and Starchy Snacks:
    • Switching over to healthier snacks alternatives is recommended. Try including healthier snack alternatives into diet.
    • Also try reducing consumption of processed food like chips and cookies.
  • Choose Tooth-Friendly Foods:
    • Calcium, phosphorous, arginine and vitamin A, C and D rich food remineralize teeth. These minerals strengthen enamel and helps to fight against cavity causing bacteria.
    • Examples include dairy products, leafy greens, nuts, seeds, and lean proteins.
  • Encourage Water Consumption:
    • Water is essential for flushing action. It helps to rinse away food particles and also neutralizes acids. This in turn reduces the risk of cavities.
    • Avoid sodas and acidic beverages with high sugar and acidic content. These in turn further contribute to tooth decay.

These dietary recommendations along with oral hygiene maintenance practices, promise a smiling future.

Following tips go a long way in maintaining oral health when combined with dietary supervision:

  • Read you toothpaste label and ingredients when buying. Try using a fluoridated toothpaste to brush twice daily. Fluoride has anti-cariogenic property, helps fight decay. Flossing helps to clean hard to reach tooth surfaces. Thus flossing should be included in regular oral hygiene practice.
  • Regular dental check-ups and cleanings every 6 months. This allows for early caries detection and remove plaque and tartar buildup.
  • Application of dental sealants onto chewing surfaces of tooth. This acts as a preventive measure to reduce caries development chances.

With the increased incidences of dental decays in kids, it has become the need of the hour to establish healthy eating habits from early age. Limiting sugary snacks and promoting tooth-friendly foods can go a long way. These methods are proven to give your child a life of cavity free healthy smiles.

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