As a kids dentist in Waterdown, Ontario Dr. Aaron Langdon of Cranberry Hill Dentistry often talks to families about how to eat right for their teeth. Fall can be a particularly difficult time for your teeth – between Thanksgiving, Hallowe’en, and Christmas parties, there are a lot of opportunities for sweets and treats.

Teaching children how to care for their teeth is an important part of Dr. Langdon’s work as a kid’s dentist in Waterdown.

So how do you eat well and take care of your teeth? A good first step is to understand the causes of tooth decay.

 

 

Kids DentistAsk a Kids Dentist in Waterdown: What is Tooth Decay?

Our teeth are protected by an outer shell of enamel. Enamel is an incredibly hard substance – harder even than your bones! Enamel is mostly made up of calcium and phosphorus, so eating foods rich in those minerals can help keep your enamel hard.

But as we eat – especially sugary and starchy foods – a sticky film of bacteria called “plaque” forms on our teeth. Yuck, right? And this bacteria can also create acids that can break down the enamel on your teeth, leading to tooth decay and even cavities.

If plaque is not brushed and flossed off our teeth regularly, it can harden into a substance called “tartar” which can damage your gums.

Many acidic foods like citrus juices, coffee, and wine can also break down the enamel on your teeth. And that’s just your teeth – there are foods you should eat (or avoid) for healthy gums as well!

Protect Your Tooth Enamel by Avoiding Sweets and Acidic Food

  • Sugary sweets and drinks – candies, sweet soda pop, chocolates, gummies. Any food that contains a lot of sugar should be avoided. Sticky sweets like toffees and gummies are the worst. They stick to your teeth for a long time and are hard to brush away. Watch out for hidden sugars, too, in foods like cough drops and juices.
  • Orange juice – speaking of juices, orange juice and many other citrus juices can be full of added sugars, and – as mentioned – the natural acids in the citrus can contribute to breaking down the enamel on your teeth. Juice does have some health benefits, though. If you love a glass of OJ or apple juice with your breakfast, look no sugar-added juices, and be sure to brush your teeth after you eat.
  • Cookies, cakes, pies, and other baked treats – apple pies, cakes, brownies, and cookies are a part of many holiday celebrations. But of course, they’re also chock full of sugar. If you can cut down on dessert, you’ll be saving your teeth a lot of potential trouble.

So, there are some foods to avoid. The good news is that many of the fall foods you already love help build healthy teeth and gums!

A Kids Dentist in Waterdown Recommends These Healthy Fall Foods:

Here are some fall foods that can have benefits for your oral health. But remember everything in moderation as well. You can overdo it even on foods that are good for you!

  • Swap out candies for nuts! If allergies aren’t a problem in your crowd, those bowls of whole nuts we put out at parties make great snacks.  Kids dentists know that nuts are packed with nutrients like calcium, vitamin D, iron, and zinc – some of which can build stronger teeth and reduce the acids in your teeth that cause cavities and tooth decay. Chewing nuts also help scrape plaque from your teeth. Just make sure to crack shells open with a nutcracker, and not your teeth!
  • Enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables – when we think fall, we think of apples, pears, and squash. Eating fresh fruits and vegetables can not only provide your body with important vitamins and minerals, like nuts but chewing these foods helps naturally clean your teeth. Leafy greens like spinach and kale are low in sugar and have many benefits for your oral and digestive health, so dig in! But as a kid’s dentist, we know that it’s not always easy to get kids to eat their greens. So have them munch on a carrot instead – they’re delicious AND good for you!
  • Eat Lean proteins – lean proteins like tofu, fish, beef, chicken – and of course that fall favourite turkey – contain essential minerals like calcium and phosphorus that can strengthen your tooth enamel.
  • Drink lots of water – drinking water not only keeps you hydrated, but it also helps wash away food and sugars from your teeth.

Take Care of your Oral Health Over the Holidays and Visit Your Kids Dentist in Waterdown

Since it’s not likely you’re going to avoid all temptations over the holidays, take care of your teeth by brushing and flossing regularly, and make a visit with Dr. Aaron Langdon, your kid’s dentist in Waterdown. At Cranberry Hill Dentistry, we wish everyone a safe and happy holiday.

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Resources:
Colgate: What Does Sugar Do To Teeth?
Healthline: Why Do My Teeth Hurt When I Eat Sweets?
Canadian Dental Association: Tips for Good Oral and Overall Health