Healthy Foods for Healthy Teeth

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Danielle Kinder
  • 9th Aerospace Medical Squadron
A healthy smile is a happy smile! You may be wondering how to achieve a healthy smile for yourself and your children. Just like your physical health, eating healthy foods can improve your dental health. You can provide your child with a healthy diet that can help nurture the growth of their teeth. Here are some important tips to help you give them that healthy smile.

A good rule is to have your child sip on water instead of sugary drinks. Water is a really good thing to sip on and most tap water is fluoridated which promotes healthy enamel. The water at Beale Air Force Base and the surrounding communities is adequately fluoridated at the recommended optimal level 0.7 - 1.2 parts per million. Water fluoridation can help strengthen enamel that may have been softened due to excessive sugar intake, thus reducing the occurrence of tooth decay. Fluoride can also be found in most toothpastes and mouth rinses. Children under age 2 should brush with water or toothpaste without fluoride, unless a healthcare professional recommends fluoride. Always check the ingredients list to make sure you're getting the most out of your oral hygiene products.

Letting your children consume sugar-filled sodas, juices, and non-nutritious snacks throughout the day can adversely affect their teeth. When bacteria in plaque come into contact with sugar in the mouth, they produce acid. The acid will then attack the teeth for 20 minutes or longer. If you let your children snack often in between meals, their teeth are exposed to acid for a longer period of time, the saliva won't have the chance to neutralize the acidity, and the tooth enamel will weaken, making them more prone to developing tooth decay.

It is important to give children a balanced diet by choosing a variety of foods from each of the five major food groups: Bread and grains, fruits, vegetables, meats/poultry/fish, and dairy. Almost all foods contain some sugar, like milk and vegetables, but they shouldn't be avoided because they contain important nutrients. Fruits and vegetables are full of natural vitamins. Dairy products contain calcium, which helps promote healthy bones and teeth. When purchasing food, read labels and choose items that are low in added sugars to help control the amount consumed.

With these tips you can help give your child a healthy smile. Keep in mind that eating healthy foods is not the only key to a healthy smile. Help your child practice good oral hygiene habits like brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and making regular visits to the dentist. Today is the day to help your child keep tooth decay away!