Good Nutrition Can Prevent Tooth Decay

Posted on March 9, 2022 | Hot Topics

Good Nutrition Can Prevent Tooth Decay

Nutrition plays a huge role in tooth decay. Teaching children how to properly fuel their body can lead to lifelong oral and physical health. We often hear that sugar is a big culprit in tooth decay, but what we don’t often hear is that carbohydrates and starches also play a big role in tooth decay!. This has to do with the carbohydrates sticking to the teeth and breaking down into sugars. They make it harder for saliva to wash away the carbohydrates and thus, they end up sitting on the teeth and causing decay.

One simple way you can help prevent decay as a parent is to teach your children about proper nutrition. Here are some tips on good nutrition to prevent tooth decay:

  1. A great and simple snack is fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables that are high in water content can help to wash away the carbohydrates and sugars from the teeth.
  2. Cheese is also great to grab as a snack or to serve with meals. It’s low in carbohydrates and has the added benefit of protein and calcium!
  3. Avoid sugary treats as snacks. Instead serve sugary treats with meals, or save them for special treats. Meal time beverages (water please!!) and extra saliva stimulated by eating can help cleanse the teeth of the sugary snacks.
  4. Avoid sugary treats that linger or get wedged between teeth. Hard candies, cough drops, and fruit snacks coat the teeth in sugar and can cause tooth decay.
  5. Offer water instead of other drinks. Plain water will help to wash food particles away without causing any more harm to teeth unlike juice, milk, and soda. A small amount of juice (less than 6-8oz) is ok with a meal once per day.
  6. Opt for purchasing foods that are unsweetened or that have no added sugar.
  7. Choose foods like milk, yogurt, kale, oranges, and broccoli that are high in calcium to help build strong teeth.
  8. If your child prefers to chew gum, find a xylitol sweetened or sugar free gum. The chewing motion will boost the production of saliva and move the food particles along so they don’t sit on the teeth for long periods of time.
  9.  Lastly, limit your child’s snacking. Snacking frequently leaves food particles on the teeth to linger and cause tooth decay. Longer periods of time between snacking and meals allows for saliva to wash away food particles and bacteria that would eat away at the teeth.

Teaching children good nutrition from a young age will help prevent plaque buildup and tooth decay over their entire lifetime.

If sugar, carbohydrates, and starches can’t be avoided, help your child practice good oral hygiene. Brushing teeth in between snacks and meals can help to get rid of the pesky food particles that would otherwise linger around on their teeth. Flossing their teeth daily can also help to remove food particles that are stuck between the teeth and along the gumline. Rinsing with a fluoride mouthwash (as long as the child can spit it out!) and using a fluoride toothpaste can also prevent tooth decay. 

Overall, learning good nutrition at a young age can lead to a lifetime of oral health. 


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