Child & Adult Care Food Program
Healthy foods mean healthy teeth
Serve foods that bacteria snub, not foods that bacteria love. Bacteria love sticky sweet foods like caramels, frosting, honey, sugar, candy, cake, cookies, soft drinks, gum with sugar, and dried fruits. Bacteria snub unsweetened foods like vegetables, fruits, cheese, meat, fish, chicken, eggs, beans, bread and cereals. There are some sugars naturally found in fruits, juices, milk and brads. If the children eat these foods constantly throughout the day, they also can cause cavities.
Have the children brush often and keep the teeth as clean as possible.
Teach the children to swish and swallow after meals or snacks. It would be great if they would brush every time after eating. That is often not possible. The next best solution is to swish and swallow. Have the children drink a small amount of water, swish it in their mouths for a few seconds, then swallow. This will help clean the sugar off the teeth.
Have the children brush after eating sticky sweet foods. Eating foods that are sticky sweet, like caramels, honey or even dried fruit, is a double whammy for teeth. The sugar gets with the germs and can make acide even longer because the sugar is sticking to the teeth longer. Be sure to brush or to swish and swallow after eating sticky foods.
Watch how often the children eat. While it is true that children need snacks each day, they do not need to eat constantly. Eating constantly, even nutritious foods that bacteria usually snub, can cause cavities. Walking around with a sipper cup of juice or a bag of cereal all day means the bacteria on teeth have a constant supply of food. The germs and the sugar in the food will form acid all day and the children are more likely to get cavities.
Adapted from Snacking is Fun for Children , Ohio Cooperative Education Service