Getting the right nutrition is essential for healthy growth and development in the formative years. This includes every single aspect of the child’s body, including the teeth. In fact, perhaps, more so than any other part in the body, the kind of diet a child has directly affects the health of their teeth.
Here are five nutrition tips to help your children have strong teeth that will las them a lifetime.
1. Encourage your child to drink lots of water
Water does wonders for oral health. Drinking water helps to physically remove any food particles or remnants that get stuck on the teeth. This prevents them from becoming food for the disease-causing bacteria that will multiply in the mouth in unhygienic oral conditions.
The mouth is always in a state of equilibrium. The saliva — or the spit — produced in the mouth helps maintain a state of neutral acidity since an overly acidic environment can lead to the destruction of the teeth. People who suffer from certain GERD diseases or those who consume a lot of alcohol, aerated drinks, or food with a lot of preservatives see the pH levels of their mouth shift to an acidic side.
Water is essential in directly reducing these pH levels and bringing them back to normal while also helping to form the saliva that protects the teeth.
A lot of areas also add fluoride to the water in order to promote dental health. Find out if your community water supply is fluoridated because that could avoid the need to use an additional fluoridated toothpaste.
2. Offer your child calcium-rich food
Tooth enamel, much like the bones, is made up primarily of calcium. The common belief in years past was to advise parents to offer calcium-rich food to children so that their teeth have enough calcium to form properly. While that continues to be true to some extent, we now also know that calcium-rich food plays another possibly more important role in keeping the teeth healthy.
Tooth decay involves the action of disease-causing bacteria in promoting the formation of an acid-rich environment that destroys the teeth's calcium and wreaks havoc in the mouth. Having a diet rich in calcium can help reverse this initial destruction and thus prevent the teeth from decaying.
Low-fat milk, cheese, and yogurt are some of the foods that are very good for the oral environment in the mouth.
3. Don't skip antioxidant-rich food
It is pretty common knowledge nowadays that antioxidant-rich food can help fight a number of diseases in the body. The anti-inflammatory effects of anti-oxidants have been studied more in recent times, though. Certain antioxidants like omega-3 fatty acids and phytochemicals fight inflammation at its very molecular level. Since gum disease is almost completely derived from the effects of inflammation, anything that helps counteract its effects in the body has a direct benefit in maintaining the health of the gums.
Lycopene is a kind of antioxidant that is found in large quantities in tomatoes. It has found to be very effective in helping fight pre-cancerous lesions like oral submucous fibrosis, leukoplakia, and lichen planus. Fish, Fish oil, green leafy vegetables, nuts, green tea, berries, and other foods are excellent sources of antioxidants in the body.
4. Make sure your child gets food rich in vitamin C
Vitamin C is one of the most important nutrients when it comes to promoting the formation of strong teeth and gums. The reason behind this is quite simple. Vitamin C plays a pivotal role in the formation, remodeling, and turnover of collagen fibers. These fibers are responsible for maintaining the structural integrity of the gums as well as the connection of the teeth with their surrounding bone.
If there is a vitamin C deficiency or a genetic disorder that prevents vitamin C from being used appropriately in the body, rampant dental diseases can thrive in the mouth. Providing the child with freshly squeezed orange juice or other citrus food is an excellent way of ensuring an adequate supply of vitamin C.
5. Include plenty of whole grains and vegetables in the child's diet
This is quite simple and true not just for children. Eating food which is not overly processed will ensure that there is actually some nutritional value to it by the time it gets to you. Whole-grain foods are rich in fiber, which helps reduce the amount of plaque being formed on the teeth.
Vegetables are a good source of vitamins and minerals so including them in a balanced diet ensures that the development of the teeth will go on without a hitch.