Nutrition and Snacking
Like the rest of our body, our teeth need a well-balanced diet. While children should eat according to Canada's Food guide, particular attention should be paid to snacking. Most snack foods that children eat can lead to cavity formation. Thus, the more frequently a child snacks the greater the chance is for cavity formation.
What effects the risk of developing cavities? The length of time that food remains in the mouth is a major contributing factor. So, hard candy or mints that stay in the mouth a long time increase
How long food remains in the mouth also plays a role. For example, hard candy and breath mints stay in the mouth a long time, which cause longer acid attacks on tooth enamel. If your child must snack, choose nutritious foods such as vegetables, low-fat yogurt, and low-fat cheese which are healthier and better for children’s teeth.
Food does not cause tooth decay, eating does! Children and Teen's dental health depends less on what they eat and more on how often they eat it.
About 90% of all foods contain sugars or starches that enable bacteria in dental plaque to produce acids. This attack by bacterial acid lasting 20 minutes or more can lead to loss of tooth mineral and can cause holes to form in teeth called cavities.
The key in preventing cavities is to limit snacking. Make sure that the child is receiving three square meals per day and if the child asks for something sweet, make sure it is given to them right after their meal. If your child insists on having a snack in between meals or before bed, make sure the snacks are tooth friendly and contribute to the overall nutrition and development of the child.
Examples of tooth friendly snacks include string cheese, fruits, vegetables, yogurt, and natural peanut butter.