As soon as your baby’s teeth erupt, they start eating healthy and unhealthy food.
The little ones are naturally more inclined towards sweets and snacks.
However, choices and tastes can differ from child to child.
While your child is growing up, you should try to give them a healthy diet.
It is not only good for their growth but also for their oral health.
Eating junk foods and sweets will spoil their teeth and create problems for both parents and the child.
Keep reading this article to know what your child should definitely not eat and what they should take instead.
Unhealthy Food Items
Firstly, it is important to remember that growing children need to]have an intake from all major food groups.
They should not completely skip a food group because it is unhealthy for the child.
However, they can limit their intake to healthy levels.
Therefore, eating carbohydrates, sugars, starchy, acidic, savory and fatty foods isn’t essentially unhealthy but their excess is.
They should get their daily sugar intake but limit it only to that amount by reading food labels.
That is 24 grams for children 7 to 10 years old and 4 to 6 year old kids should get on 19 grams of sugar per day.
Moreover eating trans fats, saturated fats, added sugar, processed meat and other processed foods can give rise to an increased risk of different health problems.
These include cardiovascular disease (heart disease), weight gain and type 2 diabetes.
There is greater fast foods intake in certain countries such as the United States.
There are health benefits for the American heart in fresh fruits with vitamins, minerals and nutrients as well as limiting sugary foods and drinks.
Hence, you need to instill healthy eating habits in them from the beginning.
Foods that are known to be unhealthy for your child’s oral health are:
- Starchy foods
- Citrus or acidic foods
- Chewing on ice
- Drinks such as soda and energy drinks
Let’s discuss them in detail below.
Sugary and Starchy Foods
Sugary foods do not only metabolize to form acids but also stick to the crevices of teeth.
Hence, it is difficult for the saliva to wash them down.
As they remain stuck to the crevices, the bacteria inside the mouth convert them into acids.
Starchy food is also metabolized by the bacteria into acids.
The acids start eroding the enamel causing tooth decay and cavities.
This also encourages the accumulation of plaque and bacteria on teeth leading to the discoloration of teeth.
Sugars are inside drinks and eatables.
These include chewy, sticky candies and taffy.
Harder lollipops and candies and smooth chocolates with high sugar content should be controlled too.
Similarly, when it comes to starchy snacks, potatoes, crisps, biscuits, white bread and pasta contain carbohydrates.
These carbohydrates convert into sugar inside the mouth.
Hence, the cycle repeats.
Plus they can get stuck between your teeth.
If your child doesn’t brush their teeth immediately it will cause their teeth to decay as the carbs convert to sugars and then acids.
So, prevent your enamel from eroding in time by brushing immediately after eating anything starchy.
Learn about more ways to prevent the damage by unhealthy food later.
Eating Citrus and Dried Fruits
Oranges, limes, lemons and grapefruits are prominent acidic foods.
While these fruits are loaded with nutrients and Vitamin C, they are not the most ideal for your teeth.
You can have these in moderation.
Drinking lemon water and orange juice is fine occasionally.
But having it daily will cause the acids in these fruits to erode your tooth enamel.
Moreover, also eat less dry fruits such as raisins.
People usually think that dried fruits are healthy.
However, they are not as healthy as natural fruits.
In fact, when fruits are dried, they lose their water content to harden.
What you get is a sticky, chewy and dry fruit that can get stuck in the crevices of your teeth.
As a result, it breaks down on your tooth to release acids.
Bacteria naturally feed on it bringing harm to your teeth and oral health.
Sports Drinks and Ice
Chewing on ice can cause you to have bad teeth.
Or even worse, it can break your teeth.
Don’t let your child develop the habit of chewing on ice which is quite hard, fresh out of the freezer.
Your teeth are not an object so you should use it to tear or break things.
Ice fresh out of the freezer is as hard as a rock. Well, not literally but it is hard enough.
If you try to chew and break it, your teeth are at a greater loss.
They can get cracks, a fracture, or even break resulting in tooth loss.
Therefore, ice is for cooling your soft drinks not chewing on its own.
Speaking of that, soft drinks, energy drinks and sports drinks contain lots of sugars.
These are usually child favorites but you will have to control their intake as they are not healthy for your child.
Sports and Energy drinks may have a lot of carbs that temporarily give you energy but they along with sodas contain lots of sugars and acids.
Colas are especially bad for their overall health, teeth and gums.
It not only erodes the enamel because of its acidic and sugary content but it also stains teeth.
Your child can get them as an occasional treat but it should not be a daily habit.
So you must be thinking how can you limit the impact of all these food and drinks?
One way is to only healthy food.
However, children generally gravitate more towards unhealthy options.
We know that’s a big problem for parents but most children have a sweet tooth, they like candies, chocolates, sodas and juices.
Hence, you can take some measures to provide them with healthy alternatives or change the way they consume this food.
Limiting Impact of Unhealthy Food on Teeth
Give them sugary treats, juices and cheese with their meals.
Cheese helps to regulate the flow of saliva in your mouth.
Hence, if you or your child eats cheese with meals, they will produce more saliva.
Though, there is already more saliva in the mouth during mealtime which helps you swallow food.
Aged cheese acts as a trigger that stimulates the salivary food and helps to wash away any stuck food particles.
hence, if your child needs a snack it should be cheese.
Other than that sugary treats and juices should not be taken as snacks rather with meals.
Mealtimes are the best to eat sugary desserts and drink juices with lots of sugars.
This is because there is already enough saliva in the mouth after a meal and during it.
So, if you give your child juice with a dish of healthy veggies or a small donut immediately afterward they finish their meal, the damage will be much lesser than giving these separately as a snack.
Moreover, if they take any sugary drinks, it is better to give them chilled without ice.
Also, let them use a straw instead of drinking directly from the glass, limiting the exposure of acids and sugars in the drink with the teeth.
Also, if your child still takes milk in a baby bottle, never put them to sleep with it.
This could cause baby bottle tooth decay.
The sugars can be in contact with their teeth and gums for a longer time by using the feeding bottle.
If they cannot let go of this habit, give them water in a feeding bottle instead.
Furthermore, limit the number of snacks they eat each day by giving them only one snack per day.
You can also give them healthy alternatives and snacks.
Healthy Food to Give to Children
Give your children lots of vegetables and meat.
Source them on proteins, minerals and nutrients by giving them a healthy diet.
Give them fruits and vegetables as snacks.
Use less acidic and less sugary fruits with a high water content such as pears and melons.
It can be hard to get them to eat vegetables.
Hence, involve them in cooking with you so that they can enjoy their snacks when they are part of the process of making it.
When it comes to drinks, it is better to give them the most healthy alternative i.e. water.
While you can accompany juices with meals, giving them water prevents many oral health problems that sugars in drinks can pose.
If your child has yet not developed that habit of drinking sodas, keep them away from it.
Rather only give them water during mealtimes, at night in a bottle or as a refreshing drink.
You can add fruit slices inside plain water for it to give a mild fruit taste.
You may want to switch all sweet snacks with unsweetened ones for the sake of their oral health.
However, if your child wants sweet snacks then try to get them sugar-free alternatives.
For instance, sugar-free Xylitol chewing gums can replace sweetened chewing gums.
Besides crunchy vegetables, also include good sources of calcium in their diet.
This will help strengthen their teeth so that they can chew on crunchy veggies and fruits.
Calcium sources such as broccoli, milk and yogurt can calcify the enamel and make it stronger.
Thereby, your enamel will not remain as prone to enamel erosion as before.
However, your child should still brush their teeth after eating and drinking sugary snacks and beverages.
This way you can prevent damage by limiting unhealthy food and eating healthy alternatives wisely.