5 Foods That Are Good for Kids' Teeth

eating watermelon
Fresh fruit is always a winner!

Kids have a lot of priorities, but taking great care of their bodies isn't high on their list. They depend on their parents to provide them with the tools that help them to care for themselves. If it was up to your son, he may never brush his teeth again all while living on a diet of cotton candy and gum. So it falls to you as the parent to make sure that doesn't happen, and that your kids' teeth remain healthy and strong. Brushing, flossing and regular dental visits are a big part of that, as well as making sure the sugar doesn't get out of hand. But there are also foods that are great for kids' teeth, so you just need to make sure they get plenty of them. Here are five of those foods.


5: Yogurt

To keep your child from developing tooth decay or gum problems, try yogurt for breakfast or as a snack. The good news is that kids will probably like the taste of yogurt, and it's a healthy snack for the whole body to boot. Yogurt is full of calcium, which is great for growing bones. A study published in the Journal of Oral Dentistry found that kids who eat at least four servings of dairy per week were less likely to get cavities than those who didn't.

Yogurts these days come in all kinds of kid-friendly packaging as well, so you probably won't have a hard time getting them to eat it. Just make sure that if yogurt is your snack of choice, you opt for low-sugar options.


4: Nuts

Before they reach for the nuts, make sure they're raw and unsalted.

Foods that require a lot of chewing are generally good for your kids' teeth and gums. Think of it as giving them a much-needed mouth workout. Nuts are a great snack for a bunch of reasons. First, they're raw foods (so long as they're not roasted and salted), which are always much better for your teeth than anything processed or cooked. Raw foods cause the mouth to salivate more, helping to reduce acids, which wear away at teeth enamel. Also, nuts are loaded with magnesium, phosphate and calcium, all of which promote healthy teeth. Cashews, walnuts, peanuts and almonds are all great choices for snacks. And finally, nuts are low in natural sugars, which is the mortal enemy of young teeth. Obviously, you're going to want avoid nuts that have added sugars like candied peanuts and pecans.


3: Fresh Fruit

Most raw foods are great for teeth -- both yours and your kids. As you chew raw foods, they massage your gums and actually help to clean your teeth. Fresh fruit, like apples, oranges, pears and watermelon are all tasty and tooth friendly, and anything that creates more chewing is better. Fruits do contain natural sugars that can lead to cavities, but they're much better than any kind of processed candies or other kinds of sugary treats. Make sure the fruit is fresh; canned fruits contain a load of added sugars and preservatives that aren't good for the teeth. If your kids are reticent to eat hard fruits like apples and pears, spread a small amount of natural peanut butter on slices to entice them.


2: Raw Vegetables

raw carrot
It's been said that carrots will help her eyesight, too!

We've talked a lot about how raw foods are great for the teeth. They work out the gums and clean the teeth thanks to their unprocessed textures. Raw veggies are an even better choice than fruits for young teeth because they do the work of raw foods while not adding much in the sugar department. Carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers, you name it. If there's a veggie your kids can eat raw, then it's going to be great for their teeth. The trick here is to get your kids to eat raw veggies to begin with, something many adults won't even do. Use some low-calorie and low-sugar dips to help make them more appetizing. Even a minimal amount of sugar in a dipping sauce isn't too bad when you consider the good you're doing by getting some raw veggies in their diet.


1: Whole Grains

Again, raw seems to be a consistent refrain here on this list. From fruits to veggies, now we move on to whole grains. They really come in handy when it' snack time because they can look more like a traditional kids' snack than say, a bowl of broccoli florets.

Whole grain crackers are a good place to start, along with cereals that your kid is bound to love. Many whole grain snacks are lower in sugar and calories because they're geared toward healthy eaters, so it's a double bonus to give them to your kids. Whole grains are also full of fiber, vitamins and minerals -- the things that help make your kids' teeth healthy and strong. Aside from snacks, base your kids' meals on the whole grain plan with varieties of bread, pasta and rice.


Lots More Information

Related Articles

  • "3 Surprising Ways to Keep Your Teeth Healthy." Rd.com. (Aug.20, 2011). http://www.rd.com/health/3-surprising-ways-to-keep-your-teeth-healthy/
  • "About Peanuts." Peanutsusa.org. (Aug. 20, 2011). http://www.peanutsusa.org.uk/Europe/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.page&pid=66
  • "Foods Good for Teeth." Fatfreekitchen.com. (Aug.20, 2011). http://www.fatfreekitchen.com/teeth/goodfoods-teeth.html
  • "Healthy Teeth for Children." Health.alberta.ca. (Aug. 20, 2011). http://www.health.alberta.ca/documents/Healthy-teeth-guide.pdf
  • "Keep Kids' Teeth Healthy With Smart Snacks." Raisingsmallsouls.com. (Aug. 20, 2011). http://www.raisingsmallsouls.com/keep-kids'-teeth-healthy-with-smart-snacks/