Diet and Oral Health

What is a healthy diet for my child?

A healthy diet is a balanced diet that naturally supplies all the nutrition that your child needs to grow. A balanced diet is one that includes the following major food groups: fruits, vegetables, grains, meat and beans, and milk.

How does my child’s diet affect their dental health?

They must have a balanced diet for their teeth to develop properly. They also need a balanced diet for healthy bone and gum tissue around the teeth. Equally important, a diet high in certain kinds of carbohydrates, such as sugar and starches may place your child at extra risk for tooth decay

How do I make my child’s diet safe for their teeth?

First, make sure they have a balanced diet. Then, check how frequently they eat foods containing sugar or starch. Examples of foods containing sugar or starch include breads, crackers, pasta and snacks such as potato crisps. When checking for sugars, look beyond the sugar bowl and the candy dish. All types of sugars can promote dental decay, a variety of foods contain one or more types of sugars. Fruits, a few vegetables and most milk products have at least one type of sugar

Should my child give up all foods with sugar or starch?

Certainly not! Many of these foods provide nutrients your child needs. You simply need to select and serve them wisely. Any food with sugar or starch is safer for tooth if it is eaten with a meal, not as a snack. Sticky foods such as dried fruits or toffee are not easily washed away from the teeth by saliva, water or milk. Therefore, they have more cavity causing potential than foods more rapidly cleared from the teeth. Talk to your paediatric dentist about selecting and serving foods that protect your child’s dental health.

My baby is not on solid foods yet, do you have any suggestions for me?

Do not nurse a young child to sleep or put him to bed with a bottle of milk, formula, juice or sweetened liquid. While a child sleeps, any unswallowed liquid in the mouth feeds bacteria that produce acids and attack the teeth. Protect your child from severe tooth decay by putting him/her to bed with nothing more than a pacifier or a bottle of water.

Final tips for child’s diet and dental health

  1. Ask you paediatric dentist to help you assess your child’s diet
  2. Shop smart, do not routinely stock your pantries with sugary or starchy snacks. Buy fun foods just for special times
  3. Choose nutritious snacks and limit the number of snack times.
  4. Provide a balanced diet, and save foods with sugar and starch for meal times.
  5. Do not put your child to bed with a bottle of milk, formula or juice
  6. Try to avoid sticky candy such as toffee and jelly beans, chewing gum with sugar


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