March has so many things to be excited about. Spring flowers are beginning to bud, beach days are just the right temperature, and spring break is around the corner.
A bonus perk about the month of March you might not have known is that it’s National Nutrition Month!
We know what you might be wondering — if nutrition is always important, what’s so special about National Nutrition Month?
During the month of March, you can join a community of people and organizations from around the country to celebrate healthy nutrition and its wonderful health benefits.
Healthy nutritional habits benefit your body in countless ways, but the one we like to focus on is — you guessed it — teeth!
When you focus on nutrition, you’re often eating foods with various healthy nutrients. Some of those — like calcium — can help strengthen teeth. Others, like Vitamin A, can help keep teeth clean by washing away harmful bacteria.
On top of keeping your child’s teeth clean, what they eat plays a huge role in their oral health. Below are 5 of the best foods to feed your child to keep their teeth healthy and strong.
5 Foods to Choose for Healthy Teeth
Grab your grocery list! Here are a few of our favorite healthy foods that will help keep your child’s teeth and gums in great shape.
Besides being delicious and easy to eat for all ages, avocado has a ton of other perks, particularly for children.
Avocados are high in the mineral Potassium. Potassium both strengthens and protects bones, including their teeth.
High acid content in your child’s saliva can cause bacteria build-up that wears away tooth enamel. Avocados strengthen their teeth by improving their mineral density and protecting their teeth by helping minimize acidity levels in their saliva.
Potassium is so important that a lack of it can actually be a cause of tooth decay!
Most children love tasty creamy yogurt! It’s a good thing because yogurt is great for teeth in a few different ways!
Yogurt is high in Calcium, the go-to nutrient for building strong bones. Strong bones mean strong teeth, too.
It’s also packed with probiotics. Probiotics are a “good bacteria that help kill bad bacteria that can cause cavities, gum disease, and premature tooth loss.
To get the full potential of yogurt, you’ll want to aim toward Greek yogurt. Skip the yogurts with added sugar, as this can lead to tooth decay.
If your child isn’t a fan of plain Greek yogurt, add a sweet and healthy kick with a little bit of tooth-healthy fruits, like sliced strawberries or pears.
Strawberries are high in fiber, which scrubs the teeth, as well as Vitamin C to help prevent gum inflammation.
Hummus is another child-friendly snack alternative that’s yummy, safe to eat, and great for their teeth.
Hummus is usually prepared with lemon juice. Lemon juice is high in Vitamin C. Vitamin C is great to help prevent swelling and irritation in their gums.
Plus, the main ingredient in hummus is chickpeas. Chickpeas are a wonderful food for children and their teeth because they’re high in protein and low in saturated fat.
Proteins are part of what makes up your child’s teeth, so more protein helps strengthen them. And the saturated fat that you can find in other high-protein foods leaves a sticky residue behind that leaves teeth more prone to decay.
So chickpeas have all the perks of protein, with none of the typical downsides!
Like yogurt and other foods that have dairy, cheese is high in teeth-strengthening calcium.
In addition to bone-building, chewing on cheese increases your child’s saliva production. More saliva helps mouths naturally wash away harmful bacteria and food particles that cause plaque and nasty gum infections.
Cheese also has the power to balance the pH levels in your child’s mouth. That means it will prevent it from getting too acidic, which can wear away tooth enamel.
Not only are apples a tasty treat for children, but they also help keep teeth and gums healthy in multiple ways!
Apples have a whopping 15% of the daily recommended intake of vitamin C. And vitamin C is a major player in keeping your baby’s gums clean and inflammation-free.
Apples are also high in fiber. Fiber is like nature’s toothbrush, scrubbing away plaque as your child chews.
Potassium is another key tool for teeth health found in apples. So between the vitamins, fiber, and potassium, your children will be having cleaner gums and strong, plaque-free teeth.
For young children, try pureeing the apple into applesauce and adding a touch of cinnamon. Cinnamon can help disinfect your baby’s mouth and freshen their breath.
The Importance of Primary “Baby” Teeth
A healthy mouth begins at birth. Even though children eventually lose their primary “baby” teeth as permanent “adult” teeth grow in, it’s still important to keep baby teeth clean and healthy through a consistent brushing routine and good nutrition. This includes foods that are good for your child’s teeth and gums.
Tooth decay caused by food and bacteria build-up can cause pain. On average, California children collectively miss over 874,000 days of school each year due to dental issues. This doesn’t just impact their physical health – missing school impacts intellectual and social development. And no parent wants that!
Losing baby teeth to decay doesn’t mean the decay has gone away. In fact, it’s likely to cause gum infections and could make adult teeth grow in crowded.
Baby teeth set the path for permanent teeth. When baby teeth are healthy, it gives permanent teeth a better shot at coming in strong and healthy, too!
Cleaning your child’s teeth properly helps them learn choice habits until they’re old enough to take their dental hygiene into their own hands. That’s why it’s important to start taking care of your child’s mouth from birth.
When they’re infants, you can do this by simply wiping their gums after each feeding with a clean, damp cloth. Regular toothbrushing routines should happen as soon as their first tooth sprouts, and flossing should begin as two teeth touch.
You can establish a nightly routine recommended by pediatricians: Brush, Book, and Bed!
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