Making the transition to solid foods for your baby can be tricky. Babies are typically ready to start making the transition at 4 to 6 months of age, but you should always give your baby the time that he or she needs to start eating soft, solid foods. Another thing that complicates the transition is nutrition—you want to make sure that your baby is eating nutritious solid foods. While your baby’s teeth may not have erupted at 4 to 6 months of age, it’s important to consider dental health as you choose solid foods for your baby—in addition to overall physical health. Here is look at some teeth-friendly foods for your baby as he or she is transitioning to solid foods.
Bananas are a popular first solid food for babies for a reason—they’re sweet, easy to break down, and full of essential nutrients. Bananas are packed with several minerals that promote healthy teeth and gums, including vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium, and manganese. They also contain fiber, which helps improve digestive function. One thing to keep in mind with bananas is that they do contain a lot of sugar, which combines with bacteria in the mouth to create an acid that breaks down tooth enamel. Therefore, it is important to help wipe your baby’s mouth and gums clean and give him or her plenty of water to clear out those sugars. Bananas for babies are best microwaved for about 25 seconds (for added softness) and then mashed with a fork.
Sweet potatoes are another great tooth-friendly food to start with. Sweet potatoes are packed with vitamin A, which helps promote strong teeth and gums. Vitamin A, specifically, helps maintain the mucous membranes and soft tissue of the gums, and it helps maintain the protein keratin, which, in turn, promotes the formation of tooth enamel. Sweet potatoes for babies are best peeled, boiled, and turned into a soft mash.
The term “winter squash” includes several types of squash, including butternut, acorn, and hubbard squash. Winter squash is rich in calcium, which helps remineralize teeth and fight against gum disease. It also contains vitamin C, which promotes strong overall gum health. Winter squash for babies is best cut in half, seeded, and baked until soft—then turned into a soft mash for eating.
Avocados are one commonly overlooked food for babies, but they are rich in nutrients that promote strong teeth and gums, including vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and potassium. Avocadoes are easy because you do not need to heat them at all prior to feeding. Simply cut an avocado in half, remove the seed, pull out the “meat,” and then mash the avocado with a fork for feeding.