Healthy Teeth and Gums for Kids: Establishing Good Eating Habits Early On

child having a dental checkupTaking good care of your child’s oral health involves more than brushing their teeth daily. While this is important, this is not the only measure you should be taking to promote strong teeth and gums. Visiting the dentist at least twice a year is essential, as well as giving your little one healthy foods and beverages.

Indianapolis family dentistry centers share a few suggestions for establishing good eating habits to promote healthy teeth:

Provide a healthy diet.

Your kid’s meal should include fruits and vegetables, dairy products (milk, cheese, or yogurt), and whole-grain products. Don’t forget to include beans, eggs, chicken, fish, and lean meats.

Limit fruit juice.

Kids ages one to three shouldn’t drink more than four ounces of juice daily. For children four to six years, fruit juice consumption should not go beyond four to six ounces. It is also advisable to serve the beverage in a regular cup (not a sippy cup) or let kids use a straw. Note that it’s always better to give them fruits instead of juice.

Encourage them to drink more water.

Water remains the best beverage for hydration and promoting good overall health. You can get kids to drink more water by making it readily available, adding fresh fruits (lemon, lime, or berries) to give it more flavors, or making fruit ice cubes.

Avoid soda.

Soft drinks should never a part of your child’s diet. Daily consumption of such beverages bathes your kid’s teeth with sugars and acid. This can lead to enamel erosion and increased risk of tooth decay.

Serve healthy snacks.

These include raw fresh fruits, raw or cooked vegetables, hard-boiled eggs, cheese cubes, and low-fat yogurt with fruits. You can still give kids cookies, candies, and cake, but not daily. You should also serve sugary treats at meal times, instead of letting your kids have them several times throughout the day.

Don’t use food as a reward.

When your little one has done a good job or displayed good behavior, never give them food as a reward. This can only result in overeating of fatty and sugary foods. This can also harm their oral health and contribute to weight gain. It’s best to reward them with a hug, extra reading time, or playing an educational game with mom and dad.

Establish healthy eating habits and good oral hygiene early on. Don’t forget to take your kids to the dentist to learn more about preventing cavities and taking better care your child’s mouth.