The importance of healthy eating for children

An adequate diet prevents the development of tooth and gum diseases at any stage of life. In the case of children, the acquisition of good eating habits is essential for their correct development.

Oral health status is significantly associated with nutritional status, being able to determine the appearance of the so “dreaded” cavities, one of the main public health problems worldwide and the most prevalent disease in childhood.

What foods are good and beneficial for teeth?

There are various foods that prevent cavities; foods with fats, proteins, calcium, or fluoride help reduce the retention of sugars and bacterial plaque, thus causing a toxic effect on the bacteria that cause caries, and increase the buffer capacity of saliva, protecting the enamel.

Another type of food with this protective profile is those that stimulate salivary flow and thus favor the remineralization of enamel. Xylitol, for example, present in some chewing gums, is a sugar substitute that is effective in reducing plaque formation and bacterial adherence, and inhibits enamel demineralization.

There are also foods that protect the gums, a very important part of our mouth, and the support of the teeth, so it is also very important to take care of them.

In order to promote good nutrition and oral health, it is necessary to give our patients a series of guidelines on healthy eating:

  • Reduce the number of exposures or intake of sucrose and sugary products, especially before going to sleep.
  • Substitute sucrose in favor of non-cariogenic sweeteners.
  • Avoid snacking between meals and reduce the consumption of sticky and viscous foods.
  • Avoid, as far as possible, acidogenic foods: potato chips, milk chocolate, filled cookies, sweet nuts, dates, etc.
  • Increase the consumption of plant-based foods, as well as fruits and whole grains.
  • Promote the use of xylitol in chewing gum
  • Drink water to avoid dehydration: 6–8 glasses a day.
  • All this must be accompanied by frequent visits to the pediatric dentist, at least twice a year, and good oral hygiene.

Nutrition and oral health are an inseparable tandem. It is important that good and beneficial foods for the teeth are promoted from childhood with a varied and balanced diet. A healthy diet will help maintain children’s oral health.

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