Diet and nutrition are closely related to dental health, and talking with a pediatric dentist in San Diego, such as Children’s Dentistry of San Diego, is one of the most effective ways for you to understand the types of foods that your child should be eating. It can be difficult to encourage your children to eat healthy foods, which is why these habits should be established early in their childhood.
Why Nutrition Matters to Dental Health
There are two main reasons why nutrition can affect dental health. First of all, healthy food choices provides the body with vitamins and minerals that are necessary to maintain healthy gums and teeth. Additionally, those vitamins and minerals are beneficial to boost the immune system, which in turn helps the body to fight disease, decay, and infection.
Additionally, poor food options can cause cavities to develop on a child’s teeth. When teeth are constantly exposed to things such as sugar and refined carbohydrates, those substances can cause tooth decay. Limiting sugar is one of the most important ways to prevent cavities. As a parent, help your child to avoid foods such as candy, cake, cookies, and other desserts.
Water vs. Flavored Drinks
One of the best tips from a pediatric dentist in San Diego is to avoid soda, because these beverages contain acidic ingredients and sugar that break down the teeth. Children often drink soda on a regular basis, or they will consume large amounts of juice. These drinks should be limited, and replaced with water instead.
Sometimes parents think they are helping their children by providing them sports drinks during sports activities. These sports drinks are usually filled with sugar and can contribute to tooth decay, and should be avoided. Instead, look for bottles of water enhanced for electrolytes. The electrolyte water can provide the same benefits as sports drinks, without the sugar content.
Setting Your Child Up for Success
A pediatric dentist in San Diego will tell you that one of the best things that you can do to help your child is to teach them through your own example. So, you should have healthy snacks and meals available for the whole family at home. Make sure to teach them by enjoying the healthy snacks along with them, instead of giving them a healthy food option and then choosing something else for yourself.
Healthy food options should include a variety of vegetables and fruit, as well as lean sources of protein such as eggs, chicken and fish. Also, be sure the child has good sources of calcium through yogurt and milk, and include whole grain options such as crackers and bread.
One way to make your child excited about their food options is to give them a choice with their food. Involve them in the shopping and preparation processes, and allow them to select the type of snack that they would like. For example, instead of asking your child what they want to eat, ask them if they would prefer an apple or orange at snack time.
A healthy diet is one step of good dental health. Your child should also brush and floss regularly, as well as visit the dentist every six months. Call Children’s Dentistry of San Diego to schedule an appointment: (858) 536-1111