Oral health is an oft-neglected component of well-being, but a crucial one. When it comes to kids, who are growing, developing, and not too concerned with health and wellness, it’s important for parents to set them up for success. One major component of dental health is strong teeth, and there are plenty of foods that kids can eat to support strong and healthy teeth; maybe even some they like!
Try not to groan when your kids ask for mac and cheese…again. Unless your children are lactose intolerant or dairy-free for another reason, dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt can help support strong teeth. They contain calcium, an important mineral for bone strength.
If your children are dairy-free, almonds are an excellent alternative source of calcium. Bonus: almonds are high in protein and low in sugar, and they make plenty of palatable milk substitutes from them.
Think spinach, kale, and the like. Just don’t ask us how to get your kids to eat them. Dark leafy greens are another food high in calcium, and they’re also high in folic acid, which is good for gums.
Meat, eggs, and fish
All of these options–in addition to high protein content, which is necessary for a strong body–are high in phosphorous, which helps keep tooth enamel strong. Bring on the fish sticks.
Water is obviously healthy, but if your water has added fluoride, it can help strengthen teeth. If your water doesn’t (e.g., you have a well instead of city water), you can purchase bottled waters that have added fluoride. Additionally, other beverages and foods which are made or prepared with fluoridated water may retain some of that fluoride and the associated tooth-strengthening benefits.
Grains get a bad rap these days, but when it comes to strong teeth, they can be a boon. Many breads and other grain products are made using fortified flours, which have added vitamins and minerals, including the all-important calcium. Good thing PB&J sandwiches will always be in style.
A diet rich in nutrients and minerals is essential to raise strong and healthy kids, with strong and healthy teeth. Childhood is a foundation for the rest of a child’s life, especially when it comes to health, and dental health is a part of that. Incorporating some of the foods listed above can help fortify your children’s’ diets, and their teeth.