As the parent of a toddler or young child, you already know the importance of keeping your child’s diet balanced and healthy. The epidemic of childhood obesity, especially early childhood obesity, has prompted many concerned parents to reassess what their children regularly eat and drink. In addition to concerns about childhood obesity and related health conditions and diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes later in life, providing healthier foods and beverages for your child can also help prevent cavities and other conditions and problems with their teeth and gums. These are problems that also may not appear until after they have grown into teenagers and adults.

How Cavities Are Caused

When discussing your child’s diet and teeth, you may believe that your primary concern is the detrimental effect that sugars found in candy and sodas can have on teeth enamel. Believe it or not, cavities are not directly caused by sugar. Instead, bacteria present in the mouth digest carbohydrates and produce plaque-generating acid. Many parents mistakenly believe that sugars and carbohydrates pose the only food-related risk to their child’s teeth and gums. However, the absence of certain important foods in your child’s diet can also lead to tooth decay, even if sugary snacks and beverages are absent as well. If your child is not receiving a full spectrum of nutrients found in a full and balanced diet, their body may not be able to fully resist infections in the mouth, which can in turn cause tooth decay and periodontal diseases to worsen.

Regulate Your Child’s Diet

Finally, in addition to maintaining a balanced diet for your child, consider relegating healthier foods to snacks and any unhealthier foods, including foods with sugars and carbohydrates, to meals. During meals, our mouths tend to generate more saliva, which helps was more food particles from our gums, teeth and tongue and helps to alleviate the damaging effects of acid on our teeth.