While getting your children excited about brushing their teeth can be a daily battle, the good news is this: There are ways to practice good dental hygiene at every meal as well. Here are some of the best foods to make a part of your children’s diet to help promote strong, healthy teeth.
Milk, Cheese, and Yogurt
These dairy products are among the most well-known because they are rich in calcium, which is known to build strong bones and teeth. Calcium is especially good for teeth in how it helps teeth to remineralize after acids have worked to break down tooth enamel. Just be sure when selecting yogurt to shy away from kinds that are loaded with sugar—the calcium in yogurt is what you want.
Some households have a lactose intolerant member of the family, and others simply prefer soy products to their dairy counterparts. Whatever the case, if soymilk is a staple in your family, be sure to purchase calcium-fortified varieties for stronger teeth.
Okay, so spinach on its own probably isn’t your child’s favorite food. But the high fiber content in spinach and the amount of saliva it produces while being chewed makes it worth finding ways for your children to enjoy it. Add spinach to your pasta or pizza at dinnertime, or try including it in a health-conscious spinach and cheese dip.
Carrots and Celery
These vegetables on their own are probably also not on your child’s favorite foods list, but they can easily be dressed up with pairings like dressing or peanut butter. The crispness of these vegetables in particular means that they work to remove plaque from teeth while you’re chewing them.
Apples and Pears
These crunchy fruits do contain natural sugars, but they are also high in water content and tend to increase saliva production, both of which work to fend off the potential damage a concentration of sugar can have on teeth. As an added bonus, they can act as natural breath fresheners—some people even prefer an apple or pear to chewing gum for a quick bad breath fix. Just be sure to pair these with plenty of water or another snack, as they are slightly acidic.
On the Fence: Oranges and Strawberries
Fruits like citrus and strawberries can be beneficial for overall dental health for their high concentrations of vitamin C—a vitamin practically made to promote healthy gums. However, these fruits are also highly acidic and could thus wear down at tooth enamel, so they must be eaten with other foods to help combat their acidity. If enjoying citrus or strawberries with children, be sure that you are pairing them with less acidic foods, or at least have plenty of water on hand to help dilute the acidity.