Most parents know that brushing and flossing their child's teeth will wash away sugar, plaque, and bacteria. However, many don't realize that there are foods they can give their child that will also help with their dental health. Here are nine foods you can serve daily
1. Cheese. It provides both calcium and phosphorous, which remineralize teeth, or add minerals back in that were removed by acids. Cheese also contains something called casein, which is a type of protein that repairs and stabilizes tooth enamel.
2. Crunchy foods. Apples, pears, carrots, and cucumbers are great. These foods have high water content, which dilutes the sugar in them. They also stimulate the production of saliva. Saliva kills germs, prevents bad breath, and contains proteins and minerals that can protect tooth enamel.
3. High-fiber foods. Spinach, beans and other high-fiber foods require a lot of chewing, increasing your child's saliva production. They also rub against the teeth, wiping away plaque and bacteria.
4. Strawberries. If your child's teeth look stained, try feeding them some strawberries. They contain something called malic acid, which is a natural enamel whitener. You can also mash strawberries and rub them onto your child's teeth. Let them sit there for five minutes then rinse them off.
5. Milk. It contains calcium, which keeps your jaw bones strong and healthy. It also protects against gum disease. If you add chocolate syrup or another sweetener to it, though, the sugar will outweigh the benefits.
6. Fish. It is high in Vitamin D, which helps your child's body absorb calcium. If your child won't eat fish, try giving them soymilk, regular milk, fortified orange juice, or a Vitamin D supplement.
7. Oranges. The Vitamin C in them can reduce inflammation, improve gum health, and strengthen blood vessels. Too much acid can wear away the enamel, so follow the oranges up with some other foods.
8. Water. It will increase your child's saliva production and help rinse away plaque and germs. Plus, if your child is drinking water, they aren't drinking a sugar-filled drink like juice or soda.
9. Sugarless chewing gum. If your child isn't old enough to spit it out, this may not be a good option. However, it can be great for older children. Chewing will help them dislodge food particles that are stuck in their teeth. It also increases saliva production and discourages snacking.
Along with feeding your child these foods, try to limit sticky candy, sweets, soda, and other sugar-filled foods. Your child's teeth will thank you. For more help or information, try contacting a pediatric dentist to learn more.