It is often said that the state of our teeth as we grow older, and the number of them we carry depends quite heavily on the kind of food we eat when younger. This is often the last concern for us parents when bringing up our children. We focus on their food but more on the quantity rather than the nutritional value.
Nutrition plays a big role on teeth, their strength and how long they last in our mouth. Children especially must eat food that keeps their teeth strong, healthy and less prone to plaque and damage. Imagine growing up to not enjoy nuts, fruits and raw vegetables. This is a possibility considering many adults today have damaged teeth or are undergoing root canal treatment. As parents it is important for us to know which foods help growing teeth. We’ve compiled a few essential ones below;
Whole white, nutrient rich foods such as cheese, milk, yoghurt, fish, eggs, mushroom and meats provide calcium, magnesium, Vitamin D & K, all of which help strengthen the outer dentine of teeth. The color of foods is often one that matches the parts of the body and in the case of teeth, white dairy products, nuts and seeds strength them up so they stay healthy for years.
Children are often fed fruits when they are little but this happens in cooked and pureed form. They therefore grow up not having much of raw fruits or vegetables such as capsicum, baby corn and peas. Eating apples after meals removes food stuck on teeth while letting the body absorb nutrients that don’t get lost in boiling and cooking. Add raw veggies as often as possible into kid’s diet, quick sautéed broccoli as finger food and carrots when they get too hungry.
Green vegetables are great for health and this is no surprise. What many don’t know is that they contain arginine which buffers teeth against food acids and keeps the mouth & teeth at a healthy & neutral pH level. Prolonged tooth damage isn’t just from the food eaten and improper care of the mouth, but from a bad pH balance that facilitates bacteria to destroy outer enamel. Arginine maintains the pH balance at all times.
Sugars are as bad for children as they are for adults. The fact that sugars stick to teeth, attract bacteria, cause plaque build up and gradually destroy teeth is something that cannot be ignored. What is more important, is that it begins from childhood. Replacing white sugar with beetroot juice, honey, jaggery ensures that these foods are good for the body and healthy. Although sugars are important for growing children, balancing out natural and artificial sugars ensures the pH balance is maintained.
Taking care of these main food groups takes care of several problems to do with dental hygiene & health. Good teeth always begins from childhood. While maintaining and checkup with a paediatric dentist must be done regularly and treatments are available for caries, ensuring dietary requirements are met with will give them healthy teeth for years to come.