7 WORST Foods for Your Child’s Teeth That You Must Keep in Mind This Festive Season
Diwali – the festival that everyone looks forward to, is soon approaching! This festival is synonymous with lights, fun, frolic, and most definitely sweets! One can’t imagine a celebration without sweets like barfis, ladoos, and mithais prepared for friends and loved ones, jalebis enjoyed by the family, and kids rushing about stuffing their mouths with whatever they can lay their hands on!
As much as this entire scenario evokes images of happiness and merrymaking, there can be a lot to deal with post the festivities if one isn’t mindful, one of them being the risk of cavities in your child’s teeth.
Certain foods can cause plaque and bacteria buildups leading to poor oral health for your child. But worry not! We are here to help. You should just be aware of the worst foods that cause tooth decay and take a few more precautions. With that, you will be all set for the festivities!
Worst Foods for Your Child’s Teeth
These are some of the most tooth-unfriendly foods to keep away from your child.
1. Carbonated Drinks
Not only are carbonated drinks like soda an unhealthy choice for your child’s body, but they’re also one of the worst foods for tooth decay. When the teeth are exposed to the carbonic acid in these sodas, the enamel gets eroded, making the teeth more prone to tooth decay. Additionally, these teeth are also more sensitive to foods that are at hot and cold temperatures. Post drinking soda, ask your child to rinse their mouth with water. And then, after an hour passes, they can brush with a toothpaste like the Colgate Kids Toothpaste for 2-5 Years, which is less abrasive on the teeth and protects against cavities. This is essential as kids’ soft, tender milk teeth require special care.
2. Packaged Fruit Juices
It’s a common thought: Skip the soda and choose packaged fruit juice instead. However, even fruit juices labelled ‘healthier’ and ‘with added vitamins’ contain large amounts of sugar that make them some of the worst foods for your child’s teeth. On drinking these sugary juices, the sugar sticks to their teeth. This sugar feeds the bacteria present in their mouth, which creates acid. And just like with acidic soda, this acid, too, wears away the enamel. Always opt for water or milk or freshly squeezed fruit juice over packaged fruit juice or soda for your child. If they do have a sugary drink, let them rinse their mouth with water after doing so. Rinsing helps eliminate any surplus sugar that sticks to teeth, thus reducing the risk for tooth decay.
3. Sweets and Candy
Anything that sticks to your child’s teeth is straight away in contention for the worst foods for oral health. Snacks and sweets like jalebis, sticky candies, and even dry fruits can create chaos on your child’s teeth. What sticky foods do is stick to your little one’s teeth and become a feast for bacteria. The bacteria feed on the sugar content in the food, which leads to tooth decay. What’s worse than regular sticky snacks? Sticky sour candies. This is because of the addition of the sour, acidic component. Like in soda, the acid only spells bad news for the enamel. If your child does consume a sticky snack, make them thoroughly brush their teeth afterwards. Gentle flossing can also help remove any remaining bits.
4. Citrus Fruits
Limes, lemons, and oranges — these fruits are generally considered good for health. But they are, in fact, not so good for the teeth. Like soda, citrus fruits have very high acid levels, making them harmful to your child’s teeth enamel. The more acidic the fruit, the worse it is for your child’s teeth. Oranges, though still acidic, are the least acidic of the citrus fruit family and are thus a safer choice if consumed in moderation. If your child loves citrus fruit, you can include oranges in their diet while reducing the damage to their teeth. For citrus juices, have your child use a straw to avoid any direct contact with their teeth. They can then rinse their mouth to help dilute the acid.
Pickled vegetables like pickled cucumbers increase the risk of tooth decay because of the vinegar used during the pickling process. With a low pH of 2.4, vinegar has around the same acidity as lemons. The acetic acid present in vinegar weakens the dental enamel, leading to tooth decay and loss of tooth minerals. This, in turn, will lead to the formation of cavities. If your child is obsessed with eating pickles alone as a snack, you can try adding them inside a sandwich or burger. This is a safer alternative, as the pickles will have less contact with the teeth that way.
6. Potato Chips and Crackers
Because there’s not much sugar in salty snacks like chips and crackers, they should be safe for your child’s teeth, right? Wrong. These snacks are filled with starch, which gets converted into sugar. And that’s not all! They tend to get collected between the teeth and feed the bacteria present in tooth plaque. It’s the stickiness of these starchy foods that enables them to stay on the teeth for a long time. The longer the teeth are exposed to these foods, the easier it is for cavities to build. After eating crackers or chips, have your child brush with a toothpaste designed for kids to ensure all the particles stuck between the teeth are removed. Kids’ milk teeth have thinner enamel and are softer than adults’ teeth. You can opt for the Colgate Kids Toothpaste for 2-5 Years, which protects against cavities and cleans gently without harming enamel. This will leave your little one with clean and healthy teeth!
As a snack, popcorn is a very healthy choice (when not filled with oil, butter, oil, or salt!). It is made from whole-grain corn, which has high fibre content and contains beneficial antioxidants. But popcorn can be problematic for your child’s teeth—although this may not be attributed to decay. Popcorn becomes a problem when it gets stuck under the gum line leading to gum infection. Ensure your child brushes after they eat popcorn so that there are no popcorn kernel fragments left between their teeth.
Effective Tips to Protect Your Child’s Teeth From Damage
- Teach your child to brush at least twice a day every day. Milk teeth and young permanent teeth are unique in their composition. Choose a toothpaste specially designed for it. For eg: the Colgate Kids range has offerings across age groups.
- Choose kid-friendly flavours. Kids toothpaste coupled with its fun flavour, will encourage your little one to stick to their dental hygiene routine.
- Choose the right-sized toothbrush with extra soft bristles like the Colgate Kids Toothbrush for your little one. Its fun characters will make them look forward to brushing their teeth without any reminders!
- Teach your child to spit while brushing. Do not give them water to swish and spit, as this can increase the probability of them swallowing the toothpaste.
- Have your child rinse immediately after meals, as it is a great way to remove food debris stuck between teeth.
- Limit or avoid foods that are sticky, sugary, or have a high acid content. This will go a long way in ensuring your child’s dental health is top-notch!
- Ensure your child drinks plenty of water. Water is excellent in fighting against acid erosion. As water is not acidic, it doesn’t harm tooth enamel. It increases saliva production, which helps clean teeth of debris naturally.
Children love to eat various things that may be harmful to their teeth. As a parent, we must help feed our children the right foods. That said, maintaining good dental health is easy. Just make effective food choices, follow the usual brushing, and flossing routine, and visit the dentist every six months for a routine checkup.
If you wish to know more about Colgate Kids Oral Care Range, view them here.
This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics for children. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.