Everyone knows that sugar is bad for your teeth. We try to keep our kids away from the obvious culprits, like soda and candy, but what about the food and drinks out there that aren’t so obvious?
Here are 5 surprising foods that can cause tooth decay in children:
- Granola Bars – Granola bars are considered a healthy snacking option, but when it comes to oral health they aren’t. Sticky and chewy foods get stuck easily in the cracks and grooves of teeth blocking saliva from neutralizing the plaque acid that’s there, which can lead to tooth decay. For healthy snacking it’s best to stick to fruits, veggies and whole grain items.
- Refined Carbs – Unfortunately this is probably every toddler’s favorite food group: White bread, crackers, chips, cereals, pasta…the list goes on. Refined carbohydrates break down into sugar that mixes with oral bacteria in our mouths creating lactic acid that erodes tooth enamel. 100% Whole Grain is the better route here.
- Gummy Vitamins – They might be vitamins, but that doesn’t make them good for your teeth. They still contain a small amount of sugar and they still stick in all the crevices of your teeth. If your child is too small to swallow a pill, a better choice would be liquid or powdered vitamins.
- Kids Yogurt – You have to read labels when dealing with food made “for kids” because they are usually loaded with sugar. A better option is to go with regular “adult” yogurt (but still check labels for sugar!) or buy plain yogurt and mix in fresh fruit to sweeten it up.
- Popcorn – Popcorn is notorious for getting stuck in the smallest, hardest to reach tooth crevice in your entire mouth. Time. This blocks saliva from getting in there and offsetting the acids lurking between your teeth. Another oral health risk when eating popcorn is the hazard of chomping down on a hard, un-popped kernel which can lead to a cracked or chipped tooth.
Obviously you’re kids aren’t going to give up all these foods completely, but awareness of the risk and some good oral hygiene habits are all you both really need. Steer your children clear of the ones you are able to, and make sure the teeth are properly cared for after eating the others. Teach them to rinse after eating (with water if they don’t have anything else) and carry floss to use after snacks and meals on the go. And as always, make sure your kids brush twice a day, for two minutes.