EATING FOR HEALTHY TEETH!...
Did you know that as soon as your baby develops their first tooth, they are at risk of dental decay, which is known as Early Childhood Caries (ECC)? Diet plays an important role in the health of your child’s teeth, so developing healthy eating habits early in life will help your child form the building blocks for strong and healthy adult teeth:
- If your baby has a breastfeed or bottle of milk before bed, gently wipe down their teeth with a moistened cloth before putting them to sleep
- Don’t allow your child to take a bottle of milk or other sugary drinks to bed. When they are older, it is fine to place a glass of water on their bedside table in case they get thirsty overnight
- If your baby needs to suck on something to settle them to sleep, offer a dummy rather than a bottle
- Encourage your baby to learn to drink from a toddler cup from 12 months of age, as breast and bottle feeding regularly throughout the day or night once a child is over 12 months can contribute to ECC.
WHAT FOODS CONTRIBUTE TO DENTAL DECAY?…
Foods high in refined carbohydrates (sugar) feed the destructive bacteria in your baby’s or toddler’s mouth. The bacteria produce acid, which destroys your child’s teeth. Be sure to check the nutritional information panel on all packaged foods to help work out which foods and drinks have high carbohydrate and sugar levels.
While it’s unrealistic to completely cut these foods out of your child’s diet, below are some tips to help minimise dental decay in your child’s teeth:
- Enjoy two healthy snacks a day such as fruit and a small portion of cheese – milk and hard cheeses such as cheddar haveprotective qualities to help prevent dental decay
- Offer your child a diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables, wholegrain cereals, lean meats and dairy products
- Limit sugary snacks such as lollies, fruit and muesli bars, biscuits, dried fruit, cordials, juices and soft drink
- You need to make sure you clean your child’s teeth morning and night, as many healthy foods still contain high amounts of sugar and can cause the growth of dental plaque (bacteria).