You probably know that there are some foods that can wreak havoc on your dental health. When it comes to your child, however, the risk can be even more serious, as they are transitioning from baby teeth to permanent teeth and trying to build a strong foundation for a healthy, attractive smile. When it comes to poor food choices for your child’s teeth, some of them may surprise you. In fact, there are foods that are good for the body, yet bad for the teeth.
If you are a parent, we encourage you to familiarize yourself with the following list of worst foods for your child’s smile:
#1 Chewy, Sugary Candy
This one is typically obvious. Anything that is super high in sugar and also very chewy or sticky is bad for your teeth. Please try to limit your child’s intake of candies like Skittles, Gummy Bears, Twizzlers, Starbursts, Jolly Ranchers, Ring Pops and Airheads. Try to establish candy as a “special treat” as opposed to a part of their daily diet.
#2 Citrus Fruits
When we talk about oranges, grapefruits, lemons and limes, we are referring to citrus fruits. Sure, these fruits are both delicious and healthy. However, they are also highly acidic. Your teeth don’t respond well to large amounts of acids, as acidic substances can erode the outer enamel of the teeth. Once enamel is gone, it doesn’t grow back on its own!
#3 Bread, Chips and Pasta
“I thought starches were just bad for the waistline?” The risk of eating too much bread and processed carbs goes beyond your body health. The problem with starches or carbs is that they can be converted to sugar in the mouth if they aren’t rinsed or brushed away in a timely manner. Bread or chips that stay stuck between your teeth can easily become a cavity culprit. You probably don’t want your child to go on a “no carb” diet. However, you can certainly teach your child to brush after every meal, especially when heavy starches are consumed.
#4 Dried Fruits
Those box of raisins may be labeled with “healthy” or “organic” – but don’t let that fool you when it comes to your child’s teeth. Dried fruit can be considered as natural candy, a significant amount of sugar made into a substance that sticks easily to your child’s teeth. When possible, fresh fruit is always best!
For some children, their food choices are not as damaging as their beverage selections. In fact, allowing your child to consume large amounts of sports drinks and dark colas can be a serious threat to their smile. Sports (or energy) drinks are especially bad, as they bathe the teeth in acids and sugar with every sip. The most effective and safest way to hydrate your child is with plain water!
As with any food or drink, moderation is key. One piece of candy isn’t going to immediately produce a cavity and a single orange won’t erode all their enamel. A smart parent will limit these foods as well as establish strong dental hygiene habits in their child. Follow diligent brushing and flossing habits and don’t skip your routine pediatric dental exams.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Paul Gilreath IV,