How to Change Kids' Eating Habits for Healthy Teeth

November 3, 2022

If you have children, you want what's best for them, especially when it comes to oral health. While taking your child to bi-yearly visits can benefit him or her, it takes more than that for optimal oral health. One factor is your child's diet. Let's take a moment to discuss the effects of diet on dental caries in kids and how to make changes to his or her diet to improve your child's dental health. 

General Information 

First and foremost, when discussing how does diet affect kids' dental health, it's important to note that eating a diet high in sugar can feed bacteria in your child's mouth. As these bacteria feast, they produce an acidic waste product that can damage the enamel on your kid's teeth, leading to cavities. 

The acid from sour foods, like lemons, can damage your child's enamel also. Certain foods are known to stain your child's teeth. 

Ultimately, the effects of diet on dental caries in kids can contribute to an increase in them as a result of bacteria growth. Not to mention, when your child is eating a diet of white flour, sugar, and other dental-unfriendly foods, he or she is raising his or her risk of gum disease. 

Make Sugar a Treat 

If you currently aren't picky about how many sugary drinks and foods your child eats and drinks, get picky. Instead of letting your child consume these items on a regular basis, make them an occasional treat. Don't teach your child that these foods are a reward, though. Just let him or her have them every now and then. Not only will this change help your child's oral health, but it can help his or her health in general. 

Have Citrus Fruits With Meals 

Oranges and tangerines are healthy for your child since they're high in vitamin C, potassium, and other vitamins and minerals. However, they can be damaging to your kid's teeth. Therefore, when you give your child these foods, don't give them as a snack. Instead, serve them as part of breakfast, lunch, or dinner. 

The reason for this has to do with "How does diet affect kids' dental health." When your child gets these foods alone without any other foods or beverages, the acid is going to remain on the teeth. It then has more time to damage them. 

Stop Buying Sugary Foods

Your child can't have what you don't buy. Therefore, next time you go to the grocery store, avoid purchasing any sugary foods unless you're planning on giving them as an occasional treat. 

Make Healthy Foods Fun 

Unhealthy foods are glamorized by commercials. You see fun, brightly colored characters endorsing them, but that doesn't happen with apples and carrots. Not to mention, sugar stimulates the release of dopamine, which is a neurotransmitter that can give your child a rewarding feeling. This is a lot to compete with when you're trying to get your child to eat healthily. 

Try to make eating healthy fun. Get them in the kitchen to help you create wholesome meals and snacks. Make healthy foods in animal shapes or in the shape of a smiley face. You could play games with healthy foods, such as bingo. Once they're done, let them eat all the veggie bites. 

Be a Good Role Model

Your teeth may not be perfect, so you don't have a reason to avoid all sugary treats. But do so for your child so he or she isn't tempted to eat these foods and possibly even sneak them because he or she sees you sneaking them. 

As your child watches you refrain from foods that aren't good for his or her teeth, he or she will want to mimic your good example. 

Try to Give Your Child Choices

Being too forceful with teeth-friendly foods may have the exact opposite effect on your child. Therefore, give him or her a choice of sugar-free food or snack options. 

You can take steps to help your little one eat a better diet for dental health, especially with the effects of diet on dental caries in kids. It's ever-so-important to help your child establish a lifetime of good habits so he or she has good oral health now and for years to come. 

Schedule an appointment for your little one at our office today! We're available by calling 208-524-5050 or using our form

Ready to bring your child’s best smile forward?

Get Started