A child’s teeth are affected by what they eat and drink.
They need a healthy, balanced diet to help them grow and maintain healthy teeth, but the food and drink choices can also affect the risk of tooth decay and fillings.
Too many carbohydrates, sugars (for example, from cakes, biscuits, sweets, milk, and other sugary foods and drinks), and starches (for example, white bread and crisps) can cause tooth decay. The length of time these foodstuffs remain on the teeth is the main factor that leads to tooth decay.
The best thing you can do as a parent is to teach your child to make healthy food choices. Here are some tooth-friendly foods to serve your children:
- Fruits and vegetables.
- Avoid sticky, chewy
- Serve sugary treats with meals, not as snacks.
- Get your children in the habit of eating as few #snacks as possible.
- Avoid sugary foods that linger on the teeth.
- Buy foods that are sugar-free or unsweetened.
- Never put your baby to bed with a bottle filled with milk, formula, juice or a fizzy drink.
- Offer your child plain water instead of juice or a fizzy drink.
- Include good sources of calcium in your child’s diet to build strong
- If your child chews gum, encourage him or her to choose xylitol-sweetened or sugar-free gum. Xylitol has been shown to reduce the amount of bacteria in the mouth and the chewing action helps increase the flow of saliva. However this must not be done to excess or it may encourage teeth grinding, which brings its own problems.
- Use fluoride toothpastes and brush and floss your child’s teeth daily. The best way to prevent tooth decay is to use fluoride toothpaste every day. Fluoride toothpaste should only be used in children old enough to spit out rather than swallow the toothpaste.
- Brush your child’s teeth after giving him or her medicine. Medicines such as cough syrups contain sugar that bacteria in the mouth use to make acids. These acids can eat away at the enamel – the protective top layer of the tooth.
- Visit the dentist It is generally recommended that you take your child to the dentist starting at about 6 months or at the sign of the first tooth breaking through the gums. Getting regular dental check-ups will also help catch any developing dental problems early.