Dr Chris HoAn essential part of improving your little one’s chompers is removing (or reducing) sugary and starchy foods from their diet. Both sugar and starch easily stick to your teeth, producing acids which can cause decay. The same foods are often high in both – for example lollies and soft drinks. If you reduce these foods from your child’s daily diet, their teeth and gums will have a decreased chance of problems.
Here is a list of recommendations on foods and drinks from leading dentist and Oral-B spokesperson Dr. Chris Ho:

Worst foods and drinks for teeth:

Keep lollies (especially sticky sweets that cling to your teeth) to a minimum. Instead choose low-sugar content foods for snacking. Good choices include vegetables, fresh fruit and plain popcorn. If your little one has a sweet tooth and just can’t resist, try to allow them these treats in one go rather than distributing them throughout the day – one acid attack is less damaging than frequent attacks!
Tomato sauce
It’s not just the obvious high-sugar foods like lollies that we should watch out for. Many sauces that we use to add flavour to our food (e.g. tomato and barbecue sauce) can also be full of sugar. Sugar is added to products like tomato sauce to balance out the acidic taste – so next time you’re at the supermarket, choose a sauce with lower sugar content.
Soft drinks, sport/energy drinks and fruit juices
Limit acidic drinks like soft drinks, sports drinks, and energy drinks and fruit juices. These are not only high in sugar but contain acids that soften tooth material and dissolve the minerals in tooth enamel, causing holes or erosion.

Best foods and drinks for teeth:

Calcium rich foods e.g. milk, cheese, yoghurt
Dairy foods such as cheese milk and yoghurt help regulate the acidity in your mouth caused by sugar – which can even be found in your savoury main meal. Simple adjustments such as this will help prevent cavities and give you confidence behind your smile in between brushing.
Water is your friend! Drinking more water reduces the acid that causes tooth decay and help keeps the mouth clean. In some areas tap water with the benefit of fluoride.
Raw foods e.g. apples and carrots
Raw foods increase salivation, which neutralises acids and alkalis within the mouth. Good raw foods for your child to eat are apple, carrot, radish, cucumber, orange, pear and beetroot.

Other Useful Tips for protecting teeth:
  • Try not to eat constantly throughout the day. Leave at least 2-3 hours between meals or snacks. This allows the acid level in the mouth to return to normal and also gives saliva a chance to counteract the effect of acid and repair tooth enamel.
  • If consuming large amounts of citrus fruits or juices, encourage your child to rinse their mouth out with water as the acids present in them can weaken enamel.
  • To maintain a healthy smile all year round, doing the simple things like brushing and flossing is essential. Using a power toothbrush with a rotating-oscillating action will greatly assist in removing plaque and food debris. To get your child used to using a power toothbrush when they are old enough, the Oral-B Stages range offers a great choice of power brushes designed specifically for children that make brushing that little bit more fun.

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