Choosing healthy foods is one of the easiest ways for your child to improve their oral and overall health, strengthen their immune system, and live their most confident life!
Our bodies need certain nutrients to facilitate proper and healthy cell production and growth. And it all starts with your child’s food choices! So which types of foods can be specific to improving your child’s dental health?
Here’s a collection of some of the best food choices for healthy teeth and gums.
1. Leafy Greens
Leafy greens are packed with fiber and require more chewing. The extra chewing generates more saliva which neutralizes mouth bacteria. They are also full of nutrients such as Vitamin A, C, E, and K, and phosphorus (a necessary mineral in enamel revitalization).
Dark leafy greens also contain an abundance of folic acid which has a number of health benefits including fighting tooth decay.
Serving suggestions: 2 cups per serving. 3 to 4 servings a week.
Suggested leafy greens: Spinach, romaine lettuce, kale, chard, collard greens, brussel sprouts, and bok choy.
Let’s add celery to the mix! This healthy snack contains vitamins A and C, and antioxidants that improve the health of your child’s teeth and gums.
Bonus: the fibrous strands help clean food debris and bacteria from your child’s teeth – while also promoting saliva production. So cunch away, kiddos!
Serving suggestions: 1-4 stalks per day.
Suggested preparation: serve with veggie dip, ranch, or peanut/almond butter.
3. Milk, yogurt, and cheese
Milk, yogurt, and cheese are great sources of calcium which is the powerhouse for bones and teeth. In fact, studies have shown that dairy food consumption can help against cavities!
Dairy products not only contain bone-fortifying calcium and phosphorus, but a protein called casein. Casein contains every amino acid necessary for your child’s cells to function properly! And it also reduces acid levels in the mouth,
Serving suggestions: 3 cups of low-fat or fat-free dairy per day.
Suggested dairy products: 1% or fat-free milk; low-fat or fat-free greek yogurt or regular yogurt; Monterey jack cheese, cheddar, Brie, or Camembert.
More fiber, calcium, and protein can be added to your child’s diet with almonds! This crunchy snack also has no sugar and helps scrape off plaque as they chew. So it’s great at deterring the bacteria that causes tooth decay.
Serving suggestions: 1 oz per day (about 23 almonds).
Suggested preparations: Eat by themselves; add to salads or meals such as stir-fry or asian style dishes.
Vitamin A is a great benefit of carrots, along with their high fiber content which helps generate saliva while snacking – so your child can enjoy a healthy snack and a light teeth cleaning as well!
Serving suggestions: 3 medium-sized carrots per day.
Suggested preparations: Carrots are a great healthy alternative to chips or candy. Think of munching carrots while watching TV instead of popcorn or as a side to your child’s sandwich!
It’s hard to find a more portable and delicious snack than apples! These fruits are high in fiber and water so eating apples produces a lot of saliva (which you know is beneficial to teeth and gums!) Research also shows that eating apples stimulates the gums, keeping them healthy to protect your kiddo’s tooth roots.
Serving suggestions: 1-2 apples per day.
Suggested preparation: Whole or sliced as snack food. Or diced to add to salads or meals.
Believe it or not, onions neutralize oral bacteria and target the bacteria that cause cavities!
Serving suggestions: 1 medium-sized onion.
Suggested preparation: Diced raw onion for toppings for salads or hot dogs; sliced to cook with meals.
Did you know that ginger root has anti-inflammatory properties and those results help the soft tissues of the mouth?
Serving suggestions: 3 to 4 grams daily or ½ teaspoon of fresh ginger.
Suggested preparations: We love ginger with our sushi! You can also use minced to marinate chicken or fish, or add to a smoothie.
Strengthen your kids teeth with healthy foods!
Encourage your children to give these foods a try so they can get the nutrients their teeth need to develop and protect against decay.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions. We are your trusted pediatric dental experts in Tampa Bay and East Bradenton, and we’re here to help our patients maintain beautiful, clean teeth and gums.
Schedule an appointment with our pediatric dentist in South Tampa, North Tampa, Town ‘n’ Country or Bradenton today!