National Smile Month (14 May to 14 June) is fast approaching, and in anticipation of celebrating our patients’ happy, healthy smiles, this week’s blog post puts the focus on foods for healthy teeth and gums – because eating for a healthy smile will positively impact on your child’s overall health, both physically and emotionally. As parents, we are well aware that providing three perfectly balanced meals a day can be a real challenge – so here’s a grab-and-go round-up of the top foods to include in your family meals.
The top of our list of foods for healthy teeth is apples. Because they are high in fiber, they act like a toothbrush, scrubbing away plaque and food debris from teeth – plus their acid content kills off the bacteria that cause bad breath. Get children to eat them with the skin on for maximum benefit!
Munching on a raw carrot has similar benefits to those of apples, with all that fiber working to gently slough away debris and help teeth keep their shine, and vitamin B help prevent gingivitis, the first sign of gum disease. Carrot-crunching also produces lots of saliva, which naturally neutralizes the acids in your mouth.
OK, we know that some children just aren’t going to touch kale or spinach. But lots of children get on well with broccoli, so focus on that for now! Leafy, dark greens have all the teeth-cleaning benefits of carrots and apples, plus they’re rich in calcium and vitamin B, so they keep teeth strong and disease-free.
From the age of 5, nuts and seeds are a great snacking option for children, offering all the saliva-boosting, teeth-cleaning benefits they need while providing a strengthening dose of protein.
Cheese is simply brilliant for kids – and one of the best foods for healthy teeth! A natural neutralizer, it’s your secret weapon in helping reduce the effects of acid attacks caused by sugary or citric foods and drinks – and of course, it’s an excellent source of teeth-and bone-strengthening calcium. Get into the habit of giving your children a cube of cheese after meals, and after eating sweets too.
We all know omega-rich salmon is great ‘brain food’ for kids – but with its high levels of vitamin D, it’s a superfood for their teeth too! Vitamin D allows the body to absorb and use calcium, which protects teeth and gums from disease.
A recipe for success?
We can’t promise to convert your kids to kale and carrot wraps – but we do understand that every child is unique, and parents need to find different approaches to getting them to eat well. Our top tips? Be patient. Try and dine together as a family as much as possible, so you can retain control of what they eat, set a great example and create happy associations with mealtimes. Try offering a variety of cuisines, even if they turn up their noses – keeping them curious helps avoid those fish-finger/pasta groundhog days. And keep coming to Growing Smiles dental – we’re a great source of tried and tested advice on children’s nutrition!
We love our patients and love to help them form healthy dental life that will last them a lifetime. For more information call us today to answer all of your questions so get an appointment today.