As a parent, you have a lot to worry about. Somewhere between teaching life lessons such as looking both ways before crossing the street and trying to finish that science project your child “forgot” about, your child’s teeth are certainly on the list of worries. The condition of a person’s teeth as they enter adulthood and beyond will dramatically affect jobs and relationships, so it’s understandable that parents are concerned with their children’s dental health. Yet one of the simplest ways to maintain your child’s teeth is to avoid or minimize your child’s consumption of certain foods. So, what are three foods that are harmful to your child’s teeth?
First, there are the sneaky foods. Sneaky foods don’t obviously appear to be bad for a child’s teeth. Examples of these include ranch dressings and ketchup. These condiments and others are loaded with sugar, even though it’s not as obvious as the sugar in a candy bar. We all have bacteria in our mouths and these sugar eaters don’t care where the sugar came from. Monitor what your child eats for a week and you’ll see how many sneaky foods end up in their mouths. If your child is very young, keep condiments away until they are older to help them learn to enjoy foods without any sneaky condiments. You should also take a few minutes to read the labels of the foods your child often eats. You may be shocked at how many contain sugar.
Second, there are the clinging foods. Clinging foods are foods that are easily trapped between teeth, even with proper chewing. Without regular brushing several times each day, these foods can wreak havoc in a child’s mouth. Included in this group is popcorn, raisins, granola bars, doughnuts and other kid favorites. Once chewed, the smallest pieces of these foods settle into the gaps in a child’s teeth, just waiting to generate a cavity or gum problem. Clinging foods are typically more common in a child’s mouth because of the natural gaps in their “baby” teeth that will ultimately filled with their adult teeth.
The final food that is harmful to your child’s teeth is all food. Although not obvious as being harmful to your child’s teeth, all foods have the ability to create problems. If your child is constantly snacking or isn't brushing and flossing more than once each day, two problems can occur. First, saliva naturally washes away food between meals. If your child is often eating, this natural process is disrupted. Also, since most foods contain some level of sugar, foods left on a child’s teeth for long periods of time will almost certainly cause extra trips to the dentist for cavities and gum problems.
When you are considering how to best care for your child’s teeth, remember these 3 food groups and have your child brush and floss regularly while also drinking lots of water so that no foods are harmful to your child’s teeth.
Special Note: Thank you to the dentists at Kool Smiles for sharing their expertise and advice for this article.
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