Tooth decay is a real concern when it comes to your children’s baby teeth. Though baby teeth will eventually fall out, tooth decay can cause your child to have a hard time chewing or even speaking. Maintain your children’s dental health by avoiding or limiting certain foods and drinks in his diet.
1. Squeezable food pouches
A very popular food snack, squeezable food pouches may be harmful to growing teeth, according to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Most of these fruit pouches contain 100 grams of sugar while vegetable pouches can have anywhere from 12-20 grams of sugar. This is because these squeezable food pouches also contain concentrated juices that are high in sugars themselves.
2. Carbonated drinks
The amount of sugar in sodas is sky high: One soft drink contains as much sugar as a king-sized candy bar. All this sugar can cause serious dental health problems, including tooth decay in people of all ages. Additionally, acids and acidic sugar byproducts soften tooth enamel and contribute to cavities. Whenever your child drinks soda, remember to have her rinse her mouth with water afterward.
3. Gummy candies
Though the amount of sugar a child has should be regulated, parents should also consider how long their children’s teeth are exposed to sugar. This is why caramels or gummy candies are bad for teeth in general. Sticky substances are more likely to get stuck in between teeth for a prolonged period of time and can envelop teeth’s surface with a layer of sugar.
4. Sour candies
Compared to regular candy, sour candies have higher acid levels that contribute to the breakdown of tooth enamel. Enamel is as thin as an eggshell, so it’s something to be very careful of when assessing how different foods affect your child’s teeth. Instead of brushing your child’s teeth right away after he or she has acidic foods or drinks, wait 30 minutes so that the acid won’t be spread onto more of the teeth’s surfaces.
5. Juices and Milk
Limit your child’s intake of juices that contain loads of sugar. Apple juice is far more acidic than orange juice and can cause your child’s teeth to erode. Every time you introduce sugars into your child’s mouth, his or her body turns it into acid that attacks teeth. Instead of filling your child’s glass with juice, opt for water or dilute the juice with water to better regulate the amount of sugars entering your child’s mouth. Similarly, milk left in your baby’s mouth will become acidic overnight, leading to decay, says Jack Gruber, D.D.S., a New York periodontist with more than 35 years of experience who invented PeriClean, a brushless toothbrush designed to be gentle on gums. Decay of baby teeth is extensive and difficult to treat, so wipe your baby’s teeth before bedtime to rid of any residual milk. Do not put your child to sleep with a baby bottle full of milk in their mouth. It will lead to "milk bottle mouth" which is decay that destroys the baby teeth.
Though avoiding starch is not completely realistic (who can always say ‘no’ to a few potato chips?), keeping an eye on the amount of chips, white bread or fries your child has can help his dental health in the long run. Not only are these foods lower on nutritional value than whole foods like carrots and broccoli, the starch found in these foods actually converts almost immediately to sugar once consumed.
7. Processed foods
Aside from juices with added sugars or artificial sweeteners, certain processed foods can contain a surprisingly high amount of sugar – simply take a gander at the nutrition labels of foods like peanut butter and ketchup. Maintaining a healthy balance of natural, whole foods and those listed above will help take care of your child’s overall dental health. Calcium, a natural part of tooth enamel, vitamins and minerals are required to build strong teeth in your child. Additionally, eating fibrous vegetables like celery helps remove plaque naturally while drinking water with fluoride can help strengthen teeth.