Your Kids’ Diet Could Be Affecting Their Oral Health

Healthy foods for teeth and gums for children

…But not in the way you think!

Most people think that sugar is the main reason behind cavities. That’s only a partial truth.

While consuming too much sugar can certainly contribute to the development of cavities, there’s a lot more that goes into a healthy (or unhealthy) mouth.

So when it comes to keeping your kids’ teeth pearly white and cavity-free and their gums pink and free of inflammation, what’s a parent to do?

Here’s what you need to know about kids’ oral health along with suggestions of our top foods for healthy teeth and gums.

How Food & Oral Health Are Linked

There are several ways that the food you or your children eat affects your teeth & gums.

  • Food Consumption Affects Overall Health: The food you eat is linked to your overall health, which is in turn linked to your oral health. Did you know that your teeth are often the first part of your body to start failing due to a bad diet?
  • Sugar Affects Mouth pH: Too much sugar can disrupt the oral microbiome and lead to an overly acidic environment that contributes to premature tooth decay.
  • Food pH Causes Erosion: The pH of your mouth can change to the production of acid by bacteria in your mouth that feed on sugar. But consuming foods or drinks that are already acidic like orange juice or caffeine can also cause enamel etching or erosion and contribute to cavities.

9 Foods to Consume Only Occasionally for Healthy Teeth & Gums

As I mentioned in my blog post “Foods You Didn’t Know That Affect Your Mouth”, there are many foods that can contribute to cavities, gingivitis, and other oral health issues:

  1. Candy
  2. Dried fruit
  3. Soda
  4. Sports drinks
  5. Starchy carbohydrates
  6. Popcorn
  7. Acidic drinks and foods
  8. Alcohol
  9. Caffeine

While avoiding these foods entirely would be great, that’s not realistic for most people, so aim for moderation!

5 Foods to Eat Often for Healthy Teeth & Gums

The UIC Chicago College of Dentistry recommends 32 foods to promote a healthy smile and whole body, but it can be difficult to remember which foods to eat on a daily basis, so if you remember anything, remember this: if you eat a balanced diet of fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, protein-rich foods, calcium-rich foods, and whole grains, you should be in good shape.

We’d also add that it’s important to consume foods with the right vitamins and minerals.

That said, here are 5 foods from the above UIC article we recommend consuming for healthy teeth and gums:

  1. Water: Not only does this have an absence of sugar, acid, and so forth, but it keeps the mouth filled with the right amount of saliva (which acts as a natural barrier to teeth and gums).
  2. Dairy Products: You may be able to obtain the calcium you need in other ways, but foods like cheese, milk, and yogurt contain natural calcium at high levels that are good for teeth and gums.
  3. Leafy Greens: These are calcium and iron-rich and full of vitamins and minerals.
  4. Fruits & Veggies: These have fiber and a ton of nutritional value. Just watch for overly-sugar fruits.
  5. Nuts: Full of calcium and phosphorous, nuts can be a great addition to your diet for healthy teeth and gums.

Learn More

Check out my full blog to learn tips and tricks to achieve optimal oral health.

For an even more comprehensive understanding, order your copy of my book “If Your Mouth Could Talk” today!

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About the Author

About Dr. Kami Hoss

Dr. Kami Hoss is a nationally sought-after expert with a master’s in craniofacial biology from USC, a doctorate in dental surgery from UCLA, and a post-doctorate in orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics. With over 25 years of experience in the dental field, Dr. Hoss is a #1 National Best Seller author frequently featured on NBC, ABC, FOX, NPR, and CBS affiliates, and founder of The Super Dentists, one of the leading multi-specialty dental practices in the country.

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