Eating healthy foods doesn’t just help your waistline. It’s also good for your teeth.
Did you know that most foods we eat contain some form of sugar? We can’t avoid it. Milk contains sugar, but we want our children to drink it because calcium builds strong bones and teeth. Fruits also contain sugar, but they provide many important vitamins and minerals that keep us healthy.
When choosing foods for your family, read food labels and avoid products with added sugars, such as candy, cookies and other sweets. Too much sugar in your diet can lead to cavities.
Tooth decay occurs when plaque in the mouth comes into contact with sugar present in foods and produces acids that attack tooth enamel. If plaque builds up and is not removed by practicing good oral hygiene and visiting your dentist frequently, the enamel breaks down and a cavity forms.
Here are some ways to keep your family’s teeth healthy:
- Limit snack times. Offer children nutritious snacks with little added sugar.
- Don’t put a young child to bed with a bottle of milk, formula or juice. Use water instead.
- Limit juice consumption to 4-6 ounces daily for kids aged 6 and under and 8-12 ounces daily for kids aged 7-18. If you live in an area where the water supply is not fluoridated, talk with your child’s dentist about fluoride supplements.
Foods without a lot of sugar and fat are better for your teeth—as well as your entire body.
Try replacing candy bars and other snacks with the following options:
- Fresh fruit and raw vegetables.
- Nuts and seeds.
- Whole-grain crackers, cereals, and breads.
- Low-fat or nonfat yogurt, cheese, and milk.
And don’t forget to brush and floss twice a day.Learn more about nutrition and dental health.