Parents work hard to instill healthy habits in their children. After all, we want our kids to grow up to be as healthy as possible in every arena, including physical wellbeing and emotional health.
An area that should not be overlooked is your child’s dental health. Promoting healthy habits early will help them enjoy healthier teeth and gums as they grow. Read on to learn about eating habits you can teach your child in order to promote better dental health.
Teach By Example
One of the best things you can do is to model good habits by example. Whether you realize it or not, your kids watch you! What you do around them matters (and be aware that often, you won’t even know that your children are watching and imitating what you’re doing). If you want your kids to have good eating habits that promote dental health, make sure that YOU adopt and practice good habits, too. Start by practicing the following tips that we share with you in this blog.
Purchase Foods That Promote Dental Health
Perhaps the easiest way to have your young children (although it’s never too late; you can start at any age) develop healthful eating practices is by carefully reviewing what foods you purchase for your family to consume. This includes foods eaten at mealtimes, in between meals, at school (via home-packed lunches), for snacks, for dessert, and when you’re on the go with your kids in tow.
Bring home healthy foods from the grocery store, and see how your kids will learn to gravitate to these dental health-promoting options. When they get hungry, reaching for organic apples or carrots you’ve purchased is much better than raiding the cupboard for candy.
In addition to satisfyingly crunchy apples and carrots, what are some foods known to promote dental health? Here’s a partial list:
- Leafy Greens
- Herbs (Parsley, Cilantro, Basil, Mint)
- Strawberries, Cranberries, Bananas, & Certain Other Berries
Many of these foods can be consumed raw; look for recipes that incorporate both the raw and cooked versions of these items. These foods are packed with nutrition, and what’s more, chewing them has the effect of cleaning teeth and removing food particles that can get stuck in teeth. Getting rid of food particles leads to fewer bacteria growing in your mouth and wreaking havoc on tooth enamel. These delicious foods offer tremendous health benefits to every member of your family all the way around!
Limit The Quantity And Types Of Sweets Found In Your Home
We’ve gone over what foods you should have in your refrigerator. Now let’s go over some of the foods you should avoid bringing home. In short, avoid (or at least limit) the sugary sweets you give to your children.
Sugar is an enemy of teeth. In your mouth (and in your child’s mouth), bacteria thrive on the sugar that comes from beverages and foods that are consumed. When these bacteria multiply, they release acids that hurt teeth and lead to dental decay. For this reason (and many other health-related reasons), it’s best to avoid giving your kids too many sweets to eat.
What are some of the types of foods and drinks you should limit or avoid altogether? The list includes the following:
- Sodas and similar sugary beverages
- Sports drinks and high-in-sugar juices
- Candies, especially hard or very sticky ones
- Sour candies in particular (the combination of sugars and acids is especially detrimental)
- Cookies (a few are okay!)
- Chocolates, including candy bars
- Ice creams and popsicles
There are many foods your child can snack on other than these sugary sweets. Make the right replacements in your cupboard and freezer, and your child will find new foods to snack on that are much healthier for their teeth and their bodies overall.
Encourage Your Child To Drink Water
Water is essential for life, so it’s not surprising that water offers numerous benefits to teeth, gums, and the tissues of the mouth. Teach your kids to drink water (not soda) when they’re thirsty, and they’ll develop a good habit that will help with their dental health (and overall health).
Encourage Your Child To Rinse With Water After Eating
Believe it or not, one way that water helps with dental health for the whole family is by rinsing away food particles that would otherwise remain stuck in teeth. Especially at school, your child may not be able to brush after eating, but they can rinse with water. This is a great habit to get into!
Promote Good Teeth-brushing Habits
Finally, it’s worth reminding parents that even very young kids can benefit from good teeth-brushing habits. Even if a child’s baby teeth will eventually fall out and be replaced by permanent ones, brushing promotes healthy gums and a healthier mouth. When the permanent teeth do come in, they’ll be in a mouth that’s healthy thanks to good brushing and flossing practices. What’s more, teaching a child to brush and floss properly promotes habits that will last a lifetime, leading to less tooth decay and, hopefully, fewer dental fillings!
Contact Dental Savers For More Ideas!
You can count on the Dental Savers dental office in Fairless Hills, PA to do our utmost to promote the dental health of every member of your family, including the youngest. We invite you to consider our dental office when you need a good pediatric dentist for your child, or when you want a reliable dentist for the entire family.
If you’d like more suggestions on how to help your child develop great habits to improve dental health, just give us a call!