A balanced diet helps your child build a healthy body—and that includes strong teeth. It also helps keep little gums in good shape. On the other hand, eating too many sugars and starches can increase your child’s risk of tooth deca. What you eat affects your mouth not only by building healthier teeth and gums, but also by helping prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Learn how to eat the best diet for your teeth, including the foods to eat, beverages to drink, and what to avoid.
Mom said it when you were in grade school, and she was right on this one: Drinking milk builds strong bones and teeth. Calcium is vital in childhood and through your teens, when teeth are formed, but the value of this nutrient doesn't stop once you get your wisdom teeth. A diet with adequate calcium may prevent against tooth decay, says Dr. Leonard Anglis, DDS. When a diet is low in calcium, as a majority of Americans' diets are, the body leeches the mineral from teeth and bones, which can increase your risk of tooth decay and the incidence of cavities. A study that appeared in the Journal of Periodontology found that those who have a calcium intake of less than 500 mg, or about half the recommended dietary allowance, were almost twice as likely to have periodontitis, or gum disease, than those who had the recommended intake.
Acids in the mouth can dissolve away tooth surfaces. As previously discussed, given the chance, teeth will repair themselves, using minerals from saliva. But if acid is in the mouth too often, (e.g. constant consumption of fizzy drinks) then the teeth cannot repair themselves and the hard tooth surface (the enamel) becomes thinner - this is called 'erosion'. The teeth can then become extra sensitive to hot and cold food and drink. Eroded teeth will also be more vulnerable to decay.
It’s not practical to cut out these foods completely but, it’s good to remind them occasionally to think before they snack. If you can plant a useful seed in their minds about tooth-friendly eating you’ll be giving them the best chance of enjoying healthy teeth for years to come.