Best Foods for Dental Health

Child holding donuts to her eyes

Last Updated: September 4, 2019

Alpharetta, GA – You probably know the types of foods you should limit in your child’s diet to ensure the health of their teeth. Sugary foods and drinks can lead to tooth decay. Your child’s diet can have a direct impact on the health of his or her mouth.

“If your child has a poor diet, it can contribute to tooth decay and gum disease,” says Dr. Nanna Ariaban, an Alpharetta pediatric dentist.

“Sugars, starches, and carbohydrates create the perfect environment for the acid that attacks our teeth to thrive. But if your child has a healthy diet, it can improve his or her oral health.”

So, what are the best foods for your child? Dr. Nanna recommends the following:

  • Cheese – A study published in an issue of General Dentistry, the American Academy of General Dentistry’s professional journal, found that eating cheese can raise the pH level in our mouths. This then lowers our risk for tooth decay. Primary ingredients in cheese are calcium and protein, which work to strengthen tooth enamel.
  • Yogurt – Yogurt is also high in protein and calcium, but also has probiotics, which can improve the health of the gums. Probiotics can increase the good bacteria that live in the mouth, driving out the harmful bacteria. Just be sure you choose a yogurt that has low sugar content.
  • Tea – Now you have to be careful with this one. We don’t mean sweet tea or any sugary tea. Green, oolong, and black tea are good. Just don’t put too much sugar.
  • Leafy greens – While probably not high on most children’s favorite foods, leafy greens are high in calcium, folic acid, vitamin B and other vitamins and minerals. If your child isn’t one to opt for a leafy green salad, add some spinach or kale to a smoothie.
  • Apples – While apples do have best sugar in them, they also are high in fiber and have high water content. Eating an apple increases the saliva the mouth produces, which can wash away harmful bacteria. If you can’t brush your teeth after a meal, pack an apple for a tooth-friendly lunch and it can tide you over until you can properly brush.
  • Carrots and Celery – Like apples, carrots and celery can work to scrape away food particles and harmful bacteria from the teeth. Carrots are also full of fiber and vitamin A. Celery is a great source of vitamins A and C that can improve the health of gums.
  • Almonds – Almonds are low in sugar, but high in calcium and protein. A handful of almonds can make an excellent tooth-friendly snack.

Be sure your child eats a healthy and well-balanced diet, filled with a variety of foods from the five main food groups. Foods high in sugar should be given as treats, rather than staples of their diets. If you or your child is a vegan or vegetarian, here’s a great guide to eating tooth-friendly foods from New Generation Dentistry in Mission Viejo.

Now that you know what healthy foods are, we’ve also created a grocery shopping guide for Johns Creek (Alpharetta coming soon!) that will help direct you to the right places to buy the food above. It’s also important to note that not all cheese and not all yogurt is good for your teeth. There are specific flavors, brands, and types that are much better and some that are actually bad for your teeth. We go into a little more detail in the shopping guide and provide some resources there.

Avoid constant snacking, as snacking increases the opportunity for bacteria to mix with acid to create plaque. If your child drinks juice, try to limit it to juices low in sugar and only give it at mealtime. This can minimize the number of time teeth is exposed to acid, and the extra saliva produced during a meal can help to wash away the pacifier and neutralize harmful acids.

If you have questions about your child’s diet, contact Dr. Nanna and her staff today.

© 2019 Polkadot Pediatric Dentistry. Authorization to post is granted, with the stipulation that Polkadot Pediatric Dentistry, an Alpharetta dentist, is credited as the sole source.