Studies show that a balanced diet from all the major food groups is vital to help kids grow strong and healthy. Too many sugars, carbohydrates, savory foods, and starches can lead to tooth decay. The amount of time that carbohydrates sty on the teeth is the leading cause behind tooth decay. Find ways to integrate the following tips into your daily routine for you and your family to help fight off tooth decay.
- Keep plenty of produce around to use as snacks: When at the grocery store, search for fruits and vegetables that contain high levels of water, like pears, celery, cucumbers, and melons. Decrease the amount of bananas and raisins, as these contain concentrated amounts of sugar. Or, make sure your child brushes their teeth soon afterwards.
- Use cheese: By serving cheese as a snack or along with a main course, you can help trigger saliva. Saliva plays an essential role in washing off food particles around the teeth. Cheeses like Monterey Jack, Swiss, cheddar, and other aged cheeses work well.
- Decrease how often you and your family consume sticky or chewy foods: Dried figs, granola bars, oatmeal cookies, peanut butter cookies, jelly beans, molasses, syrup, honey, and caramel will stick to the teeth, making it harder for saliva to wash it away. If your child does consume these items, make sure they brush their teeth soon after eating them.
- Serve sugary treats as part of a meal, not a snack: If you plan on letting your child have sweets, serve them as dessert directly following the meal. The increased amount of saliva after having a full meal will make it easier to wash away bacteria and food particles.
- Eat fewer snacks: Help you kids develop a habit of eating fewer snacks. During the time between meals, saliva can wash off food particles. If these food particles are left to themselves, they will feast on the bacteria in the mouth. Constant eating creates consistent fuel for the bacteria to grow, eventually leading to plaque development and even tooth decay. If possible, brush teeth after eating a snack.