Nutrition for Kids: 5 Healthy Foods that Improve Dental Health

There are many ways to help your kids have better dental health. You can encourage your kids to brush at least twice a day and floss once a day. You can take them for regular dental checkups every six months. You can make sure they avoid sugary treats and juices. But good nutrition for kids is one of the easiest ways to improve dental health. Here are 5 foods you can add to your child's diet to help them have healthier teeth, based on recommendations from the American Dental Association (ADA):

1. Apples

Apples are a great addition to your child's diet. In addition to adding vitamins that are good for their overall health, the process of chewing and eating apples can actually help remove plaque from teeth. Celery and carrots also provide this benefit, so try adding these healthy, crunchy snacks to lunches and snack time.

2. Spinach

Green, leafy veggies like spinach provide a variety of health benefits. Not only are they a great source of iron, but spinach and most other leafy greens are powerful antioxidants. They are also full of beta-carotene, which is needed for keeping tooth enamel strong.

3. Salmon and Other Fish

The Omega-3 fatty acids in fish are well known for improving heart health, but these same foods are great sources of vitamin D, which plays a critical role in keeping teeth and jaw bones strong.

4. Oranges

Oranges and other fruits and veggies are a great source of vitamin C. Without enough vitamin C, kids (and adults) can develop scurvy, which can cause bleeding, swollen gums.

5. Low-Fat Yogurt

Calcium is critical for healthy teeth, and yogurt is a great source of calcium that is fun for kids to eat. Mix a few berries into the yogurt for extra nutrition for kids.

In addition to healthy foods, good brushing and flossing habits, and regular checkups, the ADA recommends chewing sugar-free gum as a way to help minimize plaque. When your kids are old enough to safely have gum, it's a great option, especially when they can't brush their teeth right away.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. 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 provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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Tips for a Healthy Diet

  • Foods high in sugar are a particularly common cause of tooth decay. Making these foods a treat rather than a staple will help protect your teeth.

  • To maintain a balanced diet, eat a variety of foods from each of the five major food groups.

  • When choosing a snack, go for nutritious foods such as cheese, raw vegetables, plain yogurt or a piece of fruit.