We are all trying our hardest to best the best parents on Earth, sometimes that involves being stricter in some areas of parenthood than others. Most things are fine in moderation, but that is a hard line to walk and sometimes that line is hard to get back to once it has been crossed. We must teach our children about the important of oral hygiene and get them into the habit of brushing their teeth twice a day and flossing (once they are older). There are certain foods that do the most damage to teeth, especially young teeth. Here are 7 of the worst ones that you should do your best to avoid:

Sugar

Sugary foods, juices, sodas and candies may all seem relatively harmless at first but excessive consumptions of these items can easily erode enamel and can be very harmful for your kid’s teeth. Hard candies are the worst culprits as they can also trigger a dental emergency by chipping or breaking a tooth. Be on the look-out for sweetened medicinal syrups too as these can invite chronic dental issues over time.

Bread and Pasta

Bread and pasta is converted in sugars by our saliva once the starches are broken down. The bread and pasta is transformed into a gummy paste-like substance that sticks to the crevices between the teeth. Over the course of the whole day this repeated behaviour can result in cavities over time. It is hard to avoid bread, I get that, just try choosing the less-refined varieties like whole-wheat. The whole-wheat variation contains less sugar and isn’t broken down as easily. If you have a particularly fussy eater who won’t eat the healthier options, make sure they rinse their mouths soon after eating.

Ice

Ice isn’t exactly a food but it is on my list and I will tell you why now. Ice is a very hard substance and although it won’t cause cavities as such, it can damage your child’s teeth. Chewing on a hard substance can damage enamel and make your child susceptible to need a Pediatric Dentist for a dental emergency such as a chipped, cracked or broken tooth. On a hot day, let your children have chilled beverages – just make sure they don’t chew on the ice.

Citrus Fruits

Caring for our child’s health is first and foremost on our minds. Their oral health is just as important as their physical and mental health. Frequent consumption of fruits with a high acidic content can cause erosion and make teeth more prone to decay over time. Citrus fruits can also cause mouth sores and prevent existing ones from healing quickly. Be wary of adding a squeeze of lemon or orange into a glass of water for them as it won’t necessarily benefit their oral health. 

Bottled Water

Bottled water is fine in a pinch as it does contain essential minerals that help fight cavity-causing bacteria. What bottled water does not contain, however, is fluoride. Fluoride is necessary to prevent decay. If you live in an area where drinking bottled water instead of tap water is recommended, you should consult your family dentist as they can help regulate your child’s fluoride requirements with a supplement.

Dried Fruit

Most of us assume that dried fruit is a healthy snack, and for the most part it is. Dried apricots, prunes and figs are all sticky. This sticky, sugary substance gets trapped in between the teeth and creates utter havoc. Much like the bread and pasta, this paste-like substance creates a breeding ground for cavities and other oral nasties. If you do feed your kids dried fruit, follow the same protocol as the starchy substances and have them rinse their mouths soon afterwards.

Sports Drinks

You may think that sports drinks are harmless and that they just give your children the extra boost they need after a sports game. Half of that is true, they are loaded with carbs to give your child energy but they also contain loads of sugar – just like many other drinks. If your child is drinking the occasional sports drink with their teammates after a game, that is fine. Once again, as with most things in life, it is excessive consumption that can, and usually does, lead to problems further down the line. 

Avoiding these foods, and any others you feel you should, will help give your child’s oral wellness the upper hand in the long run. Laying the best foundation for good oral, physical and mental health habits from a young age will go a long way to keeping your children happy and healthy for their entire lives. 

Cite this article as:
Editorial Staff, "7 Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Kids to Prevent Tooth Decay," in Medicalopedia, January 27, 2021, [Permalink: https://www.medicalopedia.org/9536/7-foods-to-avoid-feeding-your-kids-to-prevent-tooth-decay/].