While it’s best to establish a healthy diet with your family that will promote strong, healthy, white teeth, sometimes those teeth-staining foods do enter into the daily routine. In such cases, it’s best to approach these foods with moderation and to know how to best handle them.
So what are the biggest teeth-staining foods and drinks to watch out for? Wine, coffee, and tea are among the most common culprits, but when it comes to your children, soda, sugary drinks, popsicles, hard candies, and tomato sauce are some of the main foods that you need to be cautious about. Here is how to best handle them when they are a part of your child’s diet.
Sodas and Sugary Drinks
The particularly high acidity of soda makes it dangerous in how it breaks down tooth enamel. But even the high concentration of acids and sugar in drinks like fruit juice mean bad news for teeth. What is the best way for you and your children to enjoy these drinks when you have them? First, try using a straw to minimize the exposure that the drink has to your teeth. Second, avoid developing the habit of sipping drinks like these throughout the day, which will only make for a constant stream of sugar exposure for your teeth. Instead, confine them to a particular time of enjoyment, or to the dinner table when those drinks have other foods to interact with. Having plenty of water on hand to help flush the acids and sugars from the mouth isn’t a bad idea, either.
These are notorious for how they stain children’s tongues and lips—but did you know that that’s a good indicator that they’re staining your child’s teeth as well? In fact, popsicles are oftentimes really just sugary drinks in frozen form, and they way that they are eaten means that they spend a great deal of time working on your children’s teeth. If popsicles are a staple in your family, try making your own at home with ingredients that are better for teeth—some ideas include “dreamsicles” made with milk or coconut milk, or fruit-based popsicles featuring mashed bananas.
Hard Candies and Gummies
Hard candies, like popsicles, are extra damaging because they spend a great deal of time in a child’s mouth. While it’s best to avoid these candies altogether, it can help to opt for sugar-free varieties of these candies. Sugar-free gum is another option if your children are old enough to chew it properly.
You may have noticed when emptying your last can or jar of tomato sauce that it left a permanent red hue behind; this can translate to less-than-white teeth as well if you’re not careful. One good solution here is to pair your family’s favorite pasta featuring tomato sauce with green, fiber-rich vegetables like spinach to help protect teeth from stain-causing acids and coloring in tomato sauce.