Eating Right to Prevent Tooth Decay

Brushing and flossing are ideally the best steps to protect your kid's teeth from decay as well as gum disease. But without a well-balanced and healthy diet, brushing and flossing won't do much.

Dr. Courtney Chinn, DDS, MPH, of the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine, stresses the importance of sensible food choices. “What parents allow their children to eat and drink seriously affects their overall health, including their teeth and gums.” Accordingly, vitamins and minerals are essential to keeping your child's teeth (and gums) strong and healthy. A tip for pregnant women: It would be best to get your baby off to a good start. Eat sensibly during pregnancy.

To fight off cavities, make sure that fluoride is a part of your child's diet. Fluoride is available in toothpaste and mouthwash products. However, avoid excessive fluoride consumption since it could blotch the teeth.

Be particular on foods rich in calcium and vitamin D. Low-fat dairy products, green leafy vegetables and sardines are among the good sources of calcium. Vitamin D, on the other hand, can be found in fortified soy and rice beverages and milk.

In addition to calcium and vitamin D, let your kids indulge in foods rich in beta carotene and vitamin A like oranges and carrots. Meat, fish and eggs are also good sources of phosphorus, which helps in the formation of your child's tooth enamel. Magnesium is equally needed, which can be found in bananas, spinach and whole grains.

During their early years, children are very susceptible to tooth decay. Thus, it is important that they eat right.

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