Helpful Pediatric Dentistry Tips!

The Best Foods For Children’s Teeth

by Dr. Steven Whittemore | Published May 15, 2019

When we think of dental hygiene for children, most people think of staying on top of brushing and flossing twice a day. However, the foods that your children consume play a large role in their ability to properly grow in and protecting tooth enamel. The next time you pack your child’s lunch or load up some snacks for a road trip, consider how these foods will play a role in the development of their teeth.

Foods That Are Bad For Children’s Dental Health

Although baby teeth are not permanent, damaged or corroding teeth will affect the proper development of adult teeth as they start to come in. Over time, the following foods will negative roles in your child’s tooth development.

Sugary Drinks

Sugary drinks such as Gatorade, pop, juice boxes, and energy drinks are devastating to the dental health of children. In fact, they are just as degrading to the dental health of adults, too. We highly recommend that you avoid these highly acidic drinks that cause wear and tear on gums and teeth.

Citrus Fruit

Although almost all fruits are great for physiological aspects of a child’s diet, some highly acidic fruits such as lemons and grapefruit are extremely acidic. If your child regularly eats either of these fruits, make sure that they are brushing their teeth immediately after they eat.

Chewy Candies

It’s no surprise that kids love sugary candy. That is why as a parent, it is important that you are the gatekeeper and guardian to their intake of sugary candy. Sugar is the king of degrading enamel and causing cavities for kids of all ages. Make sure that they are eating candy on a very well regulated basis.

Chips, Bread, and Pasta

This one might come as a shock to some parents, but starches such as bread, chips, and pasta that are made from white flour can help lead to tooth decay. These starches are known as simple carbohydrates and they break down into simple sugars when they are consumed, which ultimately can lead to the deterioration on enamel.

Foods That Are Healthy For Children’s Dental Health

Providing your child with the proper minerals and nutrients will strengthen their teeth. The following foods will help with that!

Fresh Fruits

As mentioned above, most fruits are perfect for helping your child’s dental and physiological health, with exception to highly acidic fruits. Strawberries and apples are great for children’s teeth because they action of eating them produces saliva, which in turn causes bacteria to be wiped away while kids eat them. Not only that, they are high in fiber and carry a water, which helps clean the mouth.


This might be tough for some parents, given that kids can sometimes be hesitant to want to eat vegetables, but they carry some important vitamins that help protect enamel. Also, foods like celery have fibrous strands that essentially act as a natural scrubber while kids chew. How cool is that!?

Milk, Cheese, and Yogurt

Dairy is great because they are rich in calcium, phosphorus, and casein, which helps neutralize acids that can build up on enamel from other foods. On top of that, they are a great source for protein for kids.

Nuts & Seeds

Food like cashews, almonds, and peanuts are great alternatives for chips. They also carry phosphorus and are great at replenishing lost minerals that help strengthen tooth enamel. Also, much like with apples, the act of chewing nuts creates saliva to help wash the interior of the mouth.

Water With Fluoride

Portable water bottles with filtration systems are becoming increasingly popular for people of all ages. Although filtered water is refreshing, there are often a lot of good minerals that are removed. At Pediatric Dentistry of Central Iowa, we are not opposed to kids and adults using filtered water bottles. However, we do like to make a point that kids will be depleting their fluoride intake by avoiding the tap water we have here. We are lucky to have fluoride-infused tap water here in Des Moines, you can learn more about the water quality of our tap water on the Des Moines Water Works website.

Schedule Your Child’s Next Dental Appointment

If you haven’t already done so, make sure your child has booked their next dental cleaning appointment. Many parents wait until the start of the upcoming school year, often making it hard on themselves to find an open slot when we are busy in August. We recommend that you get an early jump on booking an appointment so that you and your children can have peace of mind with scheduling. With two locations between Des Moines & Ankeny, we have welcoming offices that are a relaxing environment for kids of all ages. We look forward to seeing you!

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