Foods That Improve Pediatric Dental Care
Everyone knows how important daily brushing and flossing are to a child’s healthy smile. We know about scheduling six-month pediatric dental care appointments, limiting sugary foods, and brushing after meals can help keep your child’s mouth healthy.
What vitamins and minerals will encourage strong, healthy teeth?
- Vitamins A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
Want Healthy Teeth? Eat Vitamin A!
Vitamin A is a group of nutritional compounds including retinol and beta-carotene). It is essential for growth, vision, and disease prevention. Our first line of defense against gum disease and tooth decay is saliva. Vitamin A helps with saliva production and cavity prevention. Good sources of vitamin A include the following:
- Sweet potatoes
As always, fresh is best. Vegetables start losing their nutrients soon after they’re picked, so they need to be canned or frozen immediately afterward.
Vitamin C (also known as L-ascorbic acid) is a powerful antioxidant that helps growing bodies fight inflammation and heal. When kids don’t get enough vitamin C, their gums may become more prone to bleeding infections. This weakens the teeth. Good sources of vitamin C include the following:
- Red pepper
- Brussels sprouts
Vitamin D promotes calcium absorption, which is essential for strong, healthy teeth. When children don’t get enough vitamin D, their bones and teeth can become brittle and misshapen. Vitamin D signals the gut to absorb other essential nutrients into the bloodstream. Getting enough vitamin d also means having denser, stronger bones. We can get vitamin D in the following ways:
- Spending time in the sun
- Eating certain fish (trout, salmon, sardines)
- Eating mushrooms
- Drinking milk
Vitamins B2, 3, and 12
Each of these B vitamins is important for reducing the risk of canker sores in the mouth. Vitamin B3 helps people convert food into energy. Good sources of vitamin B3 and vitamin B2 are chicken and fish.
Any pediatric dentist in San Francisco will tell you that calcium is essential for building strong, healthy teeth and bones. High-calcium foods include spinach, kale, milk, cheese, and fish.
Magnesium helps the body absorb calcium. Eating leafy greens, nuts, beans, seeds, and whole grains helps us get plenty of magnesium.
Iron helps us maintain healthy levels of oxygen in our cells. Iron deficiencies cause many health problems, including a higher risk of infection, inflammation of the tongue, mouth sores, and unhealthy bacteria in the mouth. Iron-rich foods include brown rice, legumes, and spinach. If your child is an ice chewer, this may be connected to an iron deficiency. Chewing ice may seem harmless, but it can cause a lot of damage to the teeth.
Zinc helps us fight oral bacteria and plaque by making it more difficult for it to accumulate near the gumline. Great sources of zinc are sesame, yeast, and pumpkin seeds.
Dairy Tips for Healthy Teeth
Cheese is an excellent source of calcium and contains casein, which promotes strong tooth enamel strong. Milk contains many essential nutrients, but it also contains sugar (which will rot the teeth). The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that infants should not be put to bed with a bottle. It also suggests that parents wean children off bottle feeding when children are between 12 and 14 months of age.
Building Healthy Smiles
If your child hasn’t been getting these vital nutrients for building strong, healthy smiles, the family dentist at Zeal Dentistry recommends adding some of the foods mentioned above to their diets. If allergies or food intolerance problems make this difficult, please consult your pediatrician about supplements and multivitamins that are safe for children. Remember to stick with your brushing and flossing routines with pediatric dental care check-ups!