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Healthy Snacks That Strengthen Kids’ Teeth

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Healthy Snacks That Strengthen Kids’ Teeth

School lunch box with healthy sandwich, carrots, nuts and berries in it.

The foods we eat and the drinks we consume affect our oral health and can cause tooth decay. Kids especially are susceptible to the damaging effects of sugary foods and special precautions should be taken to safeguard their teeth. Parents have a huge influence on the foods their children eat, and healthy snacks are a great way for parents to ensure that their kids are getting the nutrition that they need to be healthy. Read on to find out what snacks are good for kids’ teeth and how you can encourage good eating habits in your family!

 

What Does Tooth Decay Do?

Our teeth are the hardest substance in our bodies, but even they can deteriorate under the constant attack of tooth decay. Tooth decay forms as the enamel on teeth soften, permanently damaging teeth and causing cavities. Plaque causes acid to develop on teeth, which eats at the enamel until holes, or cavities, occur. When left untreated, cavities can destroy the entire tooth, so decay is not something that you want to ignore. Decay doesn’t stop there, however; if it continues, it can eat into the dentin beneath the enamel, leading to a root cavity. These types of cavities hurt when you eat or drink because the nerves are exposed, making it very painful. At this point, dental treatment will be absolutely necessary to save the tooth and remedy the pain. 

 

While decay can affect anyone at any point in life, kids are especially susceptible. Bad oral hygiene and the way their teeth are shaped makes it easier for kids to develop decay, which is why they typically have more cavities than adults. Sugary snacks are another way that kids (and adults) develop cavities, though. What you put into your body has an effect on all of its systems, including the health of your teeth. Knowing what foods you should and should not eat will help you protect your oral health and keep teeth strong.

 

The Do’s and Don’ts of Snacking

Unhealthy snacks are one of the largest contributors to tooth decay, mostly because of the high sugar content. Even though gooey brownies, chocolate chip cookies and sugary juices taste delicious to kids, their sugary contents stick easily to their teeth, letting acid do its damage for longer periods of time. The number of snacks you eat also play a large role in tooth decay. If you’re eating sugary snacks multiple times a day, your teeth are being attacked by acid each time, leaving you more susceptible to decay. Some of the following foods are healthy substitutes for your kids’ daily snacks:

 

  • Fruits: Oranges, grapefruit, pears, melons
  • Vegetables: celery, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes
  • Grains: Plain bagels, bread, unsweetened cereals
  • Dairy: Low-fat cheese, yogurt, and milk
  • Protein: Chicken, turkey, sunflower seeds, nuts

 

When snacking, make sure that you eat a varied diet from the basic food groups. If you can, try to avoid sweets between meals to keep acid from developing. Maintain a good oral hygiene regimen by brushing your teeth morning and night, and try to brush them after you eat sugary foods, as well. Lastly, schedule regular dental checkups so that your teeth can be examined for decay and thoroughly cleaned. While these tips aren’t completely fool-proof, they will help prevent tooth decay from forming the majority of the time.  

 

How Dental Checkups Protect TeethAfrican American dentist showing Caucasian boy how to brush his teeth.

While the dentist may not be the most popular place to go for a child, it is essential that kids have regular dental checkups to stay on top of decay and prevent cavities. Most dental checkups include a routine examination and cleaning, which keeps kids’ teeth healthy and happy. After the cleaning, the dentist will examine the mouth with a metal probe to identify swelling or redness, which indicates decay. The upper and lower teeth will also be examined to see how they meet and correct any bite issues. For added protection, you can have your dentist apply dental sealants to your child’s teeth, which cover the grooves on their molars so that plaque can’t make its way into the tooth. 

 

The best way to protect teeth is through maintaining a good oral hygiene regimen. Kids especially need help with brushing and flossing, so it might be necessary for you to help them when they’re young to ensure that their teeth are properly cleaned. Make sure that their toothpaste has fluoride in it, which strengthens tooth enamel, and use a mouthwash to keep their breath fresh.

 

Get Healthier Teeth Today!

At Mountain Aire Dentistry, we are dedicated to your family’s oral health! To schedule a dental checkup, call our office at (303) 731-7755. Dr. Berry and his talented staff are experienced with helping kids and adults alike maintain healthy teeth and defeat pesky tooth decay. Call today to improve your oral health!