Cavities are one of the biggest issues we find in children’s teeth and one of the leading causes of missed school time. Small or large, they need to be addressed as soon as possible no matter what. At Bright Smiles Pediatric Dentistry, we also try to counsel kids and parents alike about the risks of cavities and how their diet may be affecting their dental health. In fact, cavity nutrition counseling is an important part of our routine pediatric dental appointments.
What Are Cavities?
Our mouths all contain naturally occurring bacteria. These bacteria love the food and sugars left behind in your child’s mouth after he or she has eaten. If the sugars aren’t cleaned off, the bacteria begins to feed on them and produce acid. The acid, bacteria, sugar, and saliva in the mouth all combine to form plaque, a sticky film that covers teeth. Plaque sticks firmly to teeth, and as it sits there, the acid in the plaque wears away the enamel on your child’s teeth. The bacteria and plaque work their way into the inner layers of the tooth. The decay created is what causes cavities. If we find that your child has a cavity, we will discuss options with you about how to address the cavity.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Academy of Pediatrics both recommend that dentists talk with children and their parents about the important ties between diet and dental health. Even if your child’s teeth are healthy and we see no signs of decay, we still like to chat with you about your child’s diet. We’ll go over some of our favorite tooth-friendly foods and answer any questions you might have about your child’s nutrition as it relates to their teeth. Things you might not even realize are bad for teeth – your infant’s nightly bottle or your child’s affinity for fruit snacks – could be causing cavities. It’s important to be completely honest with your dentist about your child’s diet. We’re not here to judge you (we’re parents, too!), only to help you keep your child, and their teeth, healthy!
Best Foods for Avoiding Cavities
There are many tooth-friendly snacks for your child to enjoy. A few of our favorites include:
- Crunchy raw fruits and vegetables like carrots, celery, and apples help scrub teeth clean and encourage saliva production, which rinses out the mouth.
- Dairy products, including cheese and yogurt, contain calcium, which is good for tooth enamel.
- Leafy greens are a great source of vitamins and minerals.
- Water is thirst-quenching, rinses out the mouth after eating, and keeps saliva levels up. Saliva is important to battling tooth decay.
These are just a few tooth-friendly food options. We can help parents find great snacks for even picky eaters, so bring up your concerns at your child’s next appointment.
We want to make sure that your child’s teeth are healthy and stay that way for a lifetime. Teaching children about proper nutrition early on will help them enjoy healthy smiles for years to come. As always, it’s important for your child to brush their teeth, or for you to brush for them, after meals to clean off food debris and keep it from turning into plaque. Make sure to bring your child in for regular dental appointments at Bright Smiles Pediatric Dentistry, too. Call today or use our online contact form to schedule an appointment.