Good food for good smiles
How does the food you eat cause tooth decay?
- Bacteria that live in our mouth form plaque, a sticky film on our teeth. These bacteria thrive on sugars and starches found in many foods. When we don't clean our teeth after eating, bacteria grow, producing acids that destroy the hard enamal surface of the tooth.
- In time, tooth decay occurs. The more often we eat, the more damage occurs.
- Two primary oral diseases, tooth decay and periodontal disease, are directly influenced by diet and nutrition.
How do I choose foods wisely for my child?
- Realize that foods such as fruits, milk, bread and even vegetables contain sugars and starches.
- Don't avoid the these foods, but choose wisely. Eat a balanced diet and limit between-meal snacks.
- If your child is on a special diet, keep the physician's advice in mind when choosing foods.
What are some foods that we can choose for our children?
- Foods that contain calcium. Calcium is a natural ingredient in tooth enamel, and imparts tooth hardness.
- Solid cheese items such as cheese cubes.
- Fibrous foods such as carrots, celery and similar vegetables; these are nature's toothbrush.
- Tea. Tea contains catechins that have antibacterial properties, so unsweetened tea is a mouth-healthy choice.
- Fluoridated tap water is nature's way to a healthy mouth. Fluoride is found naturally in water, and when water systems adjust the fluoride content to the right level, it helps prevent tooth decay.
What are some other tips for better dental health — for children and adults?
- Limit snacks. If your children do snack, choose nutritious foods, such as cheese, raw vegetables, plain yogurt or a piece of fruit.
- Brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste. Make sure that you clean between children's teeth daily with floss or interdental cleaners.
- See the dentist regularly. Your dentist can help prevent problems from occurring and catch those that do occur while they are easy to treat.