Nutrition Guidance

Brushing and flossing may get the most attention when it comes to oral health, but the foods in your child’s diet are just as important in influencing their risk of oral diseases.

Parents may have questions about what foods are most helpful and harmful for their child’s oral health, and we are here to provide the information you need so that your child is eating optimally. We can also reinforce the healthy diet messages your child is already hearing at home.

Your child’s oral health benefits tremendously from good nutritional intake, so we understand the importance of incorporating this topic into our care. If you would like any more information about this aspect of our services, please call our office for more details.

Nutrition Recommendations For Optimal Oral Health

In many ways, the nutrition recommendations for a healthy smile are the same as those for a healthy body:

Dental Nutrition Guidance | Pediatric Dentist | Belterra Kids Teeth | Dripping Springs, TX

  • Eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables to get an adequate intake of minerals and vitamins.
  • Include lean proteins and whole grains with meals.
  • Limit sugar, especially candies and sugary drinks that stay in contact with the teeth for a relatively long time.
  • When your child does eat sweet treats or other simple carbohydrates, make sure it’s at the same time as a meal when saliva flow is maximized to decrease the impact of the sugar on the teeth.
  • Drink enough water to stay well hydrated and help maintain adequate saliva levels.

These nutritional recommendations will go a long way toward ensuring that your child has a healthy smile by strengthening the teeth and reducing the risk of oral diseases. We may have additional nutritional suggestions based on your child’s unique needs, as well.

Oral Diseases And Concerns That May Respond To Nutritional Interventions

Nutrition can impact the development of several oral diseases and other issues affecting oral health, including:

  • Cavities – Increased sugar consumption provides more nutrition for oral bacteria and increases the risk of cavities.
  • Gum Disease – As with tooth decay, when oral bacteria proliferate by feeding off of the residual sugars in your child’s mouth, they can attack the gums and cause inflammation.
  • Halitosis (bad breath) – Not only can the foods your child eats cause bad breath directly (think garlic and onions), but they can also feed bacteria that contribute to bad breath.
  • Allergies – You may need to limit your child’s consumption of certain foods that result in an allergic response. Some of these foods, such as dairy products, may have important nutrients for your child’s smile that need to be replaced by another source.

Tips And Tricks To Get Your Child To Eat Healthy Foods

We are all parents, so we understand that children can be picky eaters who aren’t going to willingly clear all of the broccoli from their plates. Here are some suggestions that can help you to make sure that your child is eating as nutritiously as possible.

  • Hide vegetables in other foods that your child will eat eagerly. Puree them and include them in spaghetti sauce or meatloaf for example.
  • Involve school-aged children in grocery shopping and meal prep to educate them on the nutritional value of the foods they eat.
  • Be a good role model. When your child sees you eating healthy foods, they will be more willing to try those foods, too.
  • Be patient and persistent. You may need to introduce a new food many times before your child is willing to eat it. But if that food is packed with nutrients, it will be worth the wait.

Common Questions about Nutrition

Why is nutrition important to dental health?

Nutrition is important to dental health in many ways. Certain foods and beverages, such as candy and soda, can increase the risk of oral diseases and should be limited. Other foods can provide important nutrients necessary for the development of a healthy smile and should be included at most meals. We are happy to review your child’s nutritional needs to determine how they can eat optimally for a healthy smile.

What vitamins are good for children's teeth?

A number of vitamins are important for children’s teeth, including Vitamin D, which helps the body to absorb the calcium that makes up most of the teeth’s composition; Vitamin A, which boosts saliva production; and Vitamin C, which promotes healing of the gum tissue and positively affects other tissues that support the teeth, such as blood vessels. Phosphorus is also an important mineral for oral health, as it collaborates with calcium to strengthen enamel.

How does acid contribute to dental decay and gum disease?

Acid, which is a byproduct of the digestive processes of oral bacteria, attacks the enamel, gradually wearing it down and causing cavities to develop. Similarly, those same acids can cause inflammation in the gum tissue, resulting in periodontal disease symptoms like red, swollen or bleeding gums. Limiting the preferred source of nutrition for oral bacteria – simple sugars – in your child’s diet, in combination with good oral hygiene practices, will minimize the effects of acid on your child’s smile.

Should I eliminate any foods from my child’s diet?

Your child’s diet should focus primarily on whole foods with significant nutritional value. Foods that cause an anaphylactic allergic reaction should be eliminated. Otherwise, restricting foods that aren’t nutritionally beneficial, such as sweets, is likely to suffice in meeting your child’s needs for good oral health and general overall wellness.