Nutrients That Help Strengthen Your Toddler’s Teeth
You know the basics of oral care for your children. You get them into the habit of brushing and flossing their teeth after meals. You take them to the dentist regularly. You also teach them about the cavity-causing evils of sugar.
Nonetheless, dental health habits aren’t just about defense; they’re also about offense. There are things you can do to strengthen your children’s teeth. One of these is to incorporate tooth-friendly foods into your meals.
Certain nutrients are known to be good for the teeth. Which ones are these and in which foods are they found?
1. Vitamin C
This nutrient is essential to oral health as it helps kill the bacteria responsible for gingivitis. It also promotes collagen synthesis in the gums. Its common sources are fruits like oranges, kiwis, papaya, and strawberries, as well as vegetables like peppers, tomatoes, and sweet potatoes.
There are several things you need to take note of when tapping into the benefits offered by vitamin C.
- Fruits are high in sugar so you need to be conscientious about brushing after consumption.
- However, you need to delay it around 30 minutes after eating and drinking citrus fruits and juices because citric acid temporarily weakens tooth enamel, leaving teeth vulnerable to scraping from brushing.
- Vitamin C needs to be consumed daily since it is water-soluble and isn’t stored long-term in the body.
When it comes to the best nutrients for dental health, calcium tops the list. That’s why children start out drinking milk. Calcium is essential for bone building and it is one of the key benefits of milk.
Other good sources of calcium are eggs and nuts. Here are the different ways this nutrient helps make teeth healthy.
- Calcium raises the pH level in the mouth, lowering acid levels and reducing risk of cavities.
- It mixes with plaque, sticking to the teeth and lending better protection from acid.
- It repairs damage on the tooth enamel.
- It strengthens bones, including those surrounding the teeth, boosting resistance to periodontal disease when they’re older.
3. Natural Fats and Oils
Natural fats from nuts and seeds coat teeth, providing some shield against bacteria, while their oils help strengthen enamel, rendering teeth more resistant to tooth decay. These benefits can be gleaned from all kinds of nuts like almonds, pecans, and peanuts, and seeds like those from sesame, pumpkin, and sunflower.
From watching toothpaste commercials, you know that fluoride is a big word in dental care. When ingested in small doses, fluoride goes into the bloodstream and contributes to the development of strong permanent teeth. It also becomes part of the saliva, which ends up strengthening teeth from the outside.
Drinking water is usually laced with fluoride, so you can probably rest assured that your children are getting some of it. Nonetheless, you can also source fluoride from shellfish and grapes.
5. Folic Acid
Folic acid can decrease gum inflammation and make teeth and gums more resilient to plaque and bacteria, two of the most common causes of tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath. Broccoli and green leafy vegetables are good sources of folic acid.
The nutrients mentioned above are all beneficial to the teeth, but they’re not the only reason why food may be deemed tooth-friendly.
There are foods that actually mechanically clean up the teeth and gums. Vegetables and fruits with plenty of crunch can actually clean plaque off teeth. Celery also has fibrous strands that work as natural dental floss.
These foods also encourage the production of more saliva to help loosen plaque, keep gums hydrated, as well as increase natural antibodies in the mouth. Keep in mind, however, not to include chewing gum as one of the options since toddlers typically still swallow it.
Dental Care Bonus
The nutrients and foods that are good for the teeth also happen to offer other benefits to young children. They are included in the recommended food groups for toddlers as essential diet components for their growth and development. Dental care is just one of the many aspects in which these vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients serve your kids.