It can be difficult to convince young children to eat healthy, balanced diets, and it’s only natural for kids to gravitate toward foods that can easily cause tooth decay. While it’s true that young children will lose their first set of teeth, encouraging healthy dental hygiene habits as early as possible is still important. It’s also important to monitor the foods your child eats. Some of the most popular kids’ foods can easily cause significant tooth decay and even jeopardize the health of new adult teeth as they erupt.
Avoid Juice in Sippy Cups
“Sippy” cups allow liquid to pool in the mouth longer than other drinking vessels due to the slow speed that they release liquids. If you give your toddler a sippy cup full of juice, the acidic properties of the juice have more time to do damage to their young teeth with every sip. Parents can limit this by only allowing water in sippy cups throughout the day and providing diluted juice at mealtimes.
Prevent Buildup from Carb-Rich Foods
Young children aren’t usually adventurous when it comes to their food. Most younger kids prefer plain foods, white breads, and other carb-dense, white foods. Unfortunately, crackers and breads can stick to the teeth and accumulate additional substances. White breads and crackers will also eventually break down into sugars. Over time, this results in rapid plaque accumulation. Swapping white grains for whole grains and whole wheat alternatives is a great way to prevent this buildup while also providing kids with a nutritional boost.
Avoid Fruit Snacks and Dried Fruits
Many younger children love sweet snacks like gummy fruit snacks and dried fruits like raisins. The texture of these fruity treats and the sugars they contain can accumulate on and between teeth, increasing the risk of eventually gum disease and tooth decay. Since these foods are chewy and sticky, there is an even greater risk of particles accumulating between the teeth and damaging hard-to-reach places. Parents should try to replace these sticky snacks with soft, fresh fruits that do not stick to the teeth as much.
Handling Pediatric Dental Emergencies
It’s not uncommon for gum disease or tooth decay to have few to no symptoms for several days before painful symptoms emerge. If your child suddenly has a toothache or dental pain that you think might be caused by the foods they are eating, your dentist can review your child’s diet and determine the likely culprits. In the event your child requires emergency dental care and your usual pediatric dentist is unavailable, the Emergency Dental Service can help you find a local dental office to treat your child as soon as possible. Contact us online or call 1-888-350-1340 to have a member of our team connect you with an appropriate provider.