While a healthy and well balanced diet will generally promote strong dental health, some healthy foods are surprisingly damaging to tooth enamel. Here is a look at five child food favorites that could harm your child’s teeth—along with tips on how to manage these foods when they are a part of your child’s diet.
White bread often brings back warm memories of the beloved peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but unfortunately white bread isn’t so kind toward your teeth. White bread tends to contain added sugar that dissolves quickly in the mouth, combining with bacteria in the mouth to create acid that breaks down tooth enamel. Consider switching to whole wheat bread for a more nutritious alternative, and be sure that you child enjoys bread with plenty of water to flush away any pieces that get lodged between the teeth.
Even if you and your family enjoy healthy air popped popcorn, it’s important to remember that popcorn very easily gets stuck in a person’s teeth. Lodged food particles can lead to gum inflammation and increased bacterial growth in the mouth. So, if your child is going to enjoy popcorn, be sure that he or she flosses afterward.
Oranges are rich in vitamin C, which is great for healthy gums, but they are also highly acidic, which is very bad news for tooth enamel. Be sure that your child enjoys oranges in moderation, with plenty of water to flush away the citric acid.
Dried fruit may seem like a healthier alternative to gooey candy (and it often is to an extent), but it often contains added sugars just as many candies do. Moreover, dried fruit tends to stick to the teeth, creating a situation where sugars are pressed right up against the surfaces of the teeth. It’s always a good idea to have your child brush his or her teeth about ten minutes after enjoying dried fruit to remove any leftover residue.
Tomato sauce is a big favorite among kids who favor pasta. While tomato sauce can be part of a healthy diet, the acid in tomato sauce can be very damaging to teeth, working right away to break down tooth enamel and stain the teeth. The problem becomes even greater when the sauce contains added sugar—making ketchup an especially risky condiment for teeth. Be sure to consider the sugar and acid content in any sauces and condiments your child eats, and make sure they enjoy these foods along with other healthy foods and plenty of water.