The first thing that comes to mind when people think of maintaining a healthy smile is proper oral hygiene habits. As a pediatric dentist, I recognize the importance of brushing and flossing. However, proper nutrition is a major factor in maintaining a healthy smile.
As an auntie who occasionally shops with my little niece, going to the supermarket can be challenging. There is hardly an isle that is not filled with snacks or foods with high sugar content. Whether it is the gummy, sticky vitamin or medicine that is sweetened to make your child more likely to take it, many foods today are not “tooth friendly”. As a result, I thought that it would be a good idea to offer a few helpful pointers.
- A balanced diet that includes a variety of fruits, vegetables and grains is important for oral health as well as overall health.
- Juice intake should be limited to 4-6 ounces per day as is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. It is also important that the juice is served in a regular cup and the child not allowed to go to bed with a bottle/sippy cup with juice or milk.
- Breast milk is a healthy source of nutrition. However, allowing a child to breast feed more than seven times per day or falling asleep with the breast in the mouth can contribute to the development of early childhood caries.
- Limit in between meal snacking because exposing your child’s teeth to frequent “sugar and acid attacks” will increase the risk of developing decay.
- Sticky, gooey snacks such as fruit roll ups and gummy should be avoided.
I hope that these suggestions will help you with assisting your child with maintaining proper oral and overall health.