Helpful Pediatric Dentistry Tips!

“Healthy” Eating Can Damage Children’s Teeth

by Dr. Steve Whittemore, D.D.S. | Published December 4, 2017

Many parents and children are becoming more conscientious of what they are eating. As our access to information about the food we consume becomes more transparent, many parents are taking the initiative to make sure their kids are eating healthy. However, many parents do not know that many of these “healthy” foods are actually detrimental to the health of children’s teeth. Here is a list of some healthy foods that can actually cause long-term stress to both you and your kids’ teeth.

Popular Foods’ Negative Effect on Your Teeth


Granola is commonly found in nutrition bars, accompanying yogurt in a parfait, or in a bowl of cereal. Although it can be good for your diet, the high amounts of sugar that are generally found in granola will increase the chances of having tooth decay. If you purchase granola alone and mix it in with foods you prepare, make sure to find a brand that balances fiber and sugars.

Sports Drinks

Sports drinks such as Gatorade and Vitamin Water have been marketed as being the perfect recovery options for exercising and recovery. However, this is not the case. These drinks are stocked up with heavy amounts of sugar and generally provide little to no “healthy” benefits for your kids. The best option always is to provide your child with water whenever they do physical activity.

Saltine Crackers

Saltine crackers are usually an acquired taste, especially for kids. However, many children and adults do enjoy snacking on the highly salty crackers. They are full of carbohydrates that convert into sugars once they are inserted into the mouth. Anyone who has eaten saltines knows that they quickly turn into a pasty material that easily get stuck in between your teeth. This makes it incredibly difficult to get rid of when it’s time to brush and floss. If you or your kids regularly eat saltine crackers, make sure you are doubling down on your brushing and flossing.


People who eat pickles tend to LOVE pickles. Especially kids, who often eat single foods in large quantities. Acids are required during the pickling process which ends up giving them the sour flavor that they have. The acid, especially in vinegar-based pickles, are terrible for the life of your enamel. We understand that pickles are a delicious snack, but make sure you and your children are eating them sparingly to enhance the life of your enamel.

Citrus Fruits

Now, there is no denying the health benefits that fruits have for people of all ages. However, much like pickles, super citrusy fruits like grapefruit, lemons and oranges have a high acidity that wear down enamel. If your children commonly drink orange juice or lemonade, which are also infused with other sugars, you may want to consider providing more water to balance it out the acidity.

Pediatric Dentistry of Central Iowa

If any of your children have started complaining about toothaches, you should bring them in for a check up and if we find a pre-cavity or cavity developing in their teeth, we have all the equipment and tools to properly provide a sealant on any tooth that needs it. Worried that your kid won’t respond well to having a sealant put in? Don’t worry! We have dental sedation options that are backed by The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. If you are looking to have a new patient with us, feel free to fill out a form! We love serving the Greater Des Moines and Ankeny communities and we look forward to many more years doing just that!

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