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What your child eats and drinks affects his or her teeth. You can teach your child to make healthy choices to reduce the risk of tooth decay. Brushing and flossing every day can certainly help maintain good oral health, but eating right for your teeth is good for the entire body.
What Foods Are Good For the Teeth?
Calcium is good for teeth. Broccoli, yogurt and cheese are high in calcium. Aged cheeses have a double advantage. Cheese triggers the flow of saliva, which helps to wash the food particles out of the mouth. Food particles in the mouth produce bacteria, which leads to tooth decay and cavities.
Broccoli and other vegetables, such as carrots and celery, are good snacks because they are lower in carbohydrates. Starchy and sugary foods tend to leave behind food particles that stick to the teeth, which again, causes tooth decay. Eating fruits and vegetables that have a high volume of water, pears, melons and berries, are better for teeth than bananas or raisins.
Plain water is better than juice or soda. Water washes away food particles that might stick to the teeth. Water doesn’t leave sugar or have acids that might harm the teeth. Flavor water with fresh fruit or vegetables, such as cucumbers or berries, to make it more interesting.
Brush after snacks and meals to reduce the bacteria in the mouth. Help your child floss every day to get in between the teeth. Remember to brush after taking cough syrup or a liquid medicine that could damage the teeth. If your child chews gum, encourage the use of sugar-free gum.
Other Things You Can Do
Instead of giving your child frequent snacks, give your child time between snacks and meals to let the food particles wash out of the mouth. When you serve sugary treats, give them as desserts instead of snacks, because there is more saliva to wash away the food particles. Avoid hard candies and cough drops that linger in the mouth.
Don’t put your child to bed with a bottle with milk, formula or juice. Limit the soda you offer to your child. Soda not only has sugar, it is acidic. Brush your child’s teeth before bed to make the teeth clean while the child sleeps.
Visit Your Dentist Regularly
Nutrition only goes so far in keeping your child’s teeth healthy. Follow your dentist’s instructions for brushing and flossing each day. Make an appointment for a cleaning and exam every six months with your dentist.
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