Nutrition for Oral Health
Did you know that what your child eats has a profound effect on their oral health? Even with good oral hygiene, bi-annual dental cleanings, and ongoing care and maintenance, your child’s teeth could still be at risk if they’re eating the wrong foods.
Since your child’s teeth are changing into the smile they’ll have for the rest of their life, it’s particularly important that they are eating food that is good for the oral health.
Avoiding food that accelerates tooth decay and other oral health issues is a must.
What Foods Are Bad For My Child’s Teeth?
While it’s likely impossible to limit all bad food from your child’s diet, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. Sugary foods and beverages should be limited as much as possible and managed in their diet.
Sugary Foods and Fermentable Carbohydrates
Cavity-causing bacteria are often found in fermentable carbohydrates and are contained in sugary and starchy foods. Fermentable carbohydrates, unlike other carbs that break down in your stomach, break down in your mouth. This deteriorates the mineral content in your mouth, speeding up tooth decay and causing cavities.
There are many hidden sources of fermentable carbohydrates in a child’s diet, including:
- Fruits such as apples, pears, bananas, and peaches
- Beans and other legumes
- Sugar and honey
Beverages to Look Out For
Besides water, most other beverages have acids or sugars that put teeth at risk. Limit the times each day your child is allowed to drink juice, soda, energy drinks, sports drinks, or anything that is not strictly H2O.
If you do allow your child to have these drinks, limit them to meal time only. It’s also best to only offer them at one meal a day. Encourage water as the primary beverage of choice for each meal and especially in between meals.
Helping Your Child Manage Their Diet
Every child is going to need assistance managing their diet. To help them, we recommend:
- Looking at the nutrition labels of foods your child is eating. Remember, four grams of sugar is equal to one teaspoon of table sugar. Careful observation of labels will quickly determine where your child is getting sugar in their diet.
- Watching your child’s diet closely. Do you think they’re eating anything that could be degrading their oral health?
- Making sure they are not constantly snacking and sipping on sugary foods and drinks. Sipping and eating small amount of these items throughout the day will speed up the decay process as constant snacking doesn’t give your child’s body a chance to balance out the acidic environment.
Encourage your child to eat real, whole foods as much as possible. Avoid or limit foods that were made in a factory as much as you can. Filling your grocery cart with foods primarily from the perimeter of the grocery store and with foods that your grandparents would recognize are good guidelines to follow. You and your child’s oral and overall health will greatly benefit from simple changes like these.
Do you have questions about your child’s current diet or need help to change their nutrition plan for the better? Give us a call at (434) 817-1817 or contact us online to learn more about how we can help your child.
We offer the following services and more at our Charlottesville dentist office:
We’ll work with you develop a unique treatment plan to help ensure your child’s teeth develop in a healthy, natural way.
Our dental exams include:
- Orthodontic assessments
- Dental x-rays
- Disease, infection, gum disease, and tooth decay evaluation
Proper development of your child’s teeth requires more than just brushing and flossing. We always recommend two dental cleanings a year.
During your child’s dental cleaning, we’ll:
- Remove all plaque deposits
- Polish and remove stains and rough areas
While brushing and flossing everyday through childhood is a great start, tooth decay can still develop later on. We’ll help restore your child’s bright smile!
Our restorative care services include:
- Composite & amalgam fillings
- Crowns & bridges
- Other minimally-invasive treatment options
Ongoing Care & Maintenance
The earlier we identify issues with the growth of your child’s teeth, the more effective our treatment will be.
Our ongoing care plan includes…
- Regular cleanings and exams
- Dental x-rays
- Fluoride treatments
- Consultations with our experienced Medicaid dentists
What Our Patients Say
“We always have a great experience at Children’s Dentistry! My daughter is nervous coming to the dentist, but Arianna always makes it such a great experience for her and talks her through everything!”
– Megan V.
Call Children’s Dentistry of Charlottesville at (434) 817-1817 or contact us online to learn more about how dental exams can help your child.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you accept insurance or Medicaid?
Yes! We accept Medicaid and many other insurance plans, including those from:
- United Concordia
- Delta Dental
Are you a dentist who works with special needs children?
We are! Generally, we can perform basic dental exams for children with special needs. Our entire Charlottesville dental team has experience working with children with special needs, including those with Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Autism, and dental anxiety.
We’re committed to ensuring your child receives the care they deserve to have a healthy smile for life. Questions or concerns regarding your special needs child’s dental care? Give us a call! We’d love to help!
How often do children need a dental exam?
It’s necessary for children to receive two dental exams a year. For some patients, additional exams could be helpful for more extensive dental treatment.
What should I look for between dental exams?
Almost all issues will be caught with your child’s two yearly dental exams. Still, you should look out for some things in-between appointments. These include:
- Temperature sensitivity in the teeth
- Gums that are swollen or bleeding
- Damage to fillings, crowns, or other dental restorations
- Mouth pain, including teeth, tongue, or jaw pain
- Difficulty while chewing or swallowing
- Continuous bad breath even with brushing and flossing
If your child is experiencing any of these, contact us to see if you should schedule an additional exam.