Our dental health is as important as our overall body health, but it tends not to be given the attention it requires. The mouth is the first point of digestion, and the teeth are vital for food consumption. Dental care is more delicate and necessary in kids’ eating the right foods and keeping standard dental hygiene rules will go a long way in maintaining optimal dental health.
Different foods, fruits, and beverages can bring about plaque formation in the teeth. Plaque formation can occur when tiny specs of food attach themselves to the teeth for an extended time. These foods decay and break down in the mouth to form a sticky coating that hardens with time. This process brings about tooth decay and different gum diseases. This is why kids need to be taught oral hygiene and good dental habits from a very young age. Habits like flossing and constant brushing are essential, and also avoiding foods that lead to easy formation of gum disease and cavities.
The worst foods for children’s teeth mainly react with the bacteria around the teeth to form some acids that cause damage to your tooth. These acids attack the enamel and promote the gradual decomposition of the enamel, leading to cavity formation. Little children often have less comprehensive and fully functional immune systems than do adults, which makes them very susceptible to bacteria, food poisoning, and infection. This is true of kids under the age of five. However, avoiding sugary foods, eating healthy, and practicing good dental hygiene can ultimately reduce the chances of cavities.
Generally, cavities lead to holes and abscesses in the teeth. They can cause mild to chronic tooth pain and ultimately eating difficulty. When the plaques on a tooth are left to fester, they harden and form tartar, which is known as the first stage of a gum disease called gingivitis. Being entirely aware of our children's eating habits is essential to preserving good oral hygiene. To ensure this, parents must monitor their kids' sugar intake and reduce the frequency of taking sugar-rich foods like chocolates, sweets, biscuits, and cakes. Opt for foods like apples, eggs, carrots, and leafy vegetables, which contain nutrients like phosphorus, calcium, and folic acid; they can help neutralize acids in the mouth and improve the health of teeth and gums. Here are the worst foods for children’s teeth:
7 foods that are bad for kids’ teeth
Candy is undeniably harmful to the teeth and is actually one of the worst foods for children’s teeth. When eaten in large quantities, it leads to cavities and tooth decay. Also, the sticky and chewing nature of candy makes it more adept at getting stuck in crevices around the teeth making it extremely easy for acids and bacteria to corrode the teeth. The ease at which these candies get stuck in thin corners of the teeth makes it harder for toothbrushes to placate and remove during brushing. This is an essential example of why flossing, even after brushing is important. Sour candy is one of the worst candies, as it is largely acidic., and can increase the risk for cavities and other oral health problems in kids.
Bread surprisingly is on this list. As bread is consumed, saliva decomposes the starch into sugars. It then possesses a sticky-wet appearance, which can easily get stuck between the crevices in the teeth. These can, in turn, cause cavities for your kids and lead to dental problems. However, not all kinds of bread have this same effect. Those breads, such as whole wheat bread, contain less starch and sugar, and are better for your child to consume. As a parent or guardian, to prevent your child’s teeth from being ridden with cavities and to enhance dental hygiene, it is best to limit your kid’s bread consumption.
3. Carbonated drinks
Drinking carbonated beverages in large quantities is unhealthy to anyone’s teeth. Its continued consumption provides an environment for acids to thrive and erode the teeth. Carbonated sodas also make it easier for plaque to produce more acid to erode the teeth. In essence, drinking soda all the time is equivalent to coating your teeth in acid continuously. Taking carbonated drinks regularly also dries out your mouth, relinquishing it of high saliva levels. Sodas can color and stain the teeth due to their highly acidic properties. Your kids should be encouraged to develop the habit of being satisfied with drinking water. Clean healthy water contains spare amounts of fluoride which is an integral ingredient of toothpaste.
4. Citrus fruits
Saying limes, oranges, lemons, and grapefruits aren’t healthy sounds unrealistic but in terms of oral hygiene, it’s true. In reality, they are unhealthy when taken continuously. Citrus fruits are rich in antioxidants like vitamin C and are good immune boosters. They can cause discoloration of the teeth and are also acidic in nature, hence, they can easily attack the enamel and cause dental issues. The amounts of acid they possess make the teeth more susceptible to breakdown. Also, berries are agents of bad teeth as they have rough seeds that can erode your kid’s teeth. Limes are strong enough to completely acidify water in little quantities. The acidic content of these fruits not only fosters tooth decay but also delays the healing of sores in the mouth. Citrus fruits or their juices should be eaten and drunk in moderation, to lower the risk of dental health issues.
5. Potato chips
Potato chips are another example of a food that consists of high levels of starch that are easily reduced to sugars in the mouth. These can become so easily trapped between the teeth and foster bacteria growth leading to plaque. Furthermore, since the chips are crunchy and are bite-sized, one needs to take multiple bites taken and a substantial increase in the chances of getting some part of them stuck in between your teeth. Their acidic properties are usually long-lasting and are only completely extinguished immediately, after proper brushing, flossing, and oral hygiene. Hence, the dental risk they pose to your kids isn’t worth the trouble at all. So, it is advisable to limit their quantity intake of chips and also ensure to supervise their dental hygiene afterward.
6. Dried fruits
Dried fruits are delectable and satisfying. They are typically healthy snacks but with a little health risk. However, many dried fruits like raisins, apricots, figs, and prunes are very sticky in texture; therefore they get stuck or embedded in the teeth and various crevices, leaving behind a trail of sugar after being consumed. Generally, even in adults, it is advised to always drink water, brush, and floss your teeth after eating dried fruits. These dried fruits have less moisture in them hence, have increased sugar concentrations. Like sticky forms of candy, dried fruit is easily deposited in crevices and creates a breeding arena for bacteria. This specific characteristic and their concentrated sugar levels make them a part of some foods that are worst for children’s teeth. It is important to note that raisins or prunes are not generally evil foods that should never be consumed; however, emphasis should be placed on being cautious and applying moderation when giving these kinds of foods to kids.
Anyone of any age can easily be tempted to chew on ice, some might say it’s only water, how harmful can it be? Actually, ice can damage the enamel, it can go on to cause cracked and loosened crowns. Ice is basically beneficial when used to cool drinks, but it is important that you do not let children develop a habit of chomping on ice. Although they can often be given chilled drinks, try to restrict them from chewing ice. Apart from making your kids' teeth more vulnerable to tooth decay, ice can also dislodge your kid’s oral appliances such as braces and dental fillings which can lead to further issues as a trip to the dentist may be inevitable.
All the foods listed above in one way or the other contribute to dental frailties and weaknesses in your children when included in their diet without moderation. However, these foods shouldn’t stop children from enjoying tasty treats altogether. It is imperative that brushing of teeth twice a day and more water intake should be encouraged.