Dentistry: Foods for healthy teeth
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We need the right kind of food for our bodies to grow, fight infections and heal from sickness and injury. Good food
gives us the energy we need to think, learn, play and be physically active. It also keeps teeth and gums strong and
healthy. High quality foods give us energy, protein, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals. Foods that are high in sugar
can cause tooth decay (cavities).
This fact sheet will give information on foods that will keep teeth and gums healthy. It will also list foods to be careful
with, as they promote tooth decay.
Food for healthy teeth & gums
Give or eat these foods anytime!
Fresh, frozen or canned:
Milk & dairy products
Meat & alternates
Chicken (poultry), fish, shellfish, pork, beef, eggs, nuts & seeds
Whole grain bread,
plain bagels, pita, flatbread, rice, cooked cereals
Do not give raisins, whole grapes and melon balls, stringy foods, whole olives, cherries with pits, whole
nuts and seeds or popcorn, wieners and sausages to children under 4. It is easy to choke on these foods.
What about juice?
(we should check with CHEO dietitians, to make sure we’re all giving the same advice)
Juice contains a lot of natural sugar. It’s best to give your child fruit to eat, instead of juice. If you do give juice, give
orange juice (not from concentrate) like Tropicana® or Oasis®. Limit juice to no more than
cup each day.
Water is best!
Offer your child water when she is thirsty.
Most children should have 4 servings of milk or dairy products each day
. Serve milk with meals, and give milk, yoghurt
or cheese before bedtime. Help your child brush his teeth afterwards, though. Leaving the natural sugar in milk on
the teeth overnight can cause tooth decay.
Tips for healthy teeth and gums
- Have regular mealtimes: breakfast, lunch and dinner,
with limited snacks in between.
- Teach your child to drink from a cup at 12 months.
Children shouldn’t use bottles after 12 months of age,
and never at night.
- Keep sweets in the house. Your child will stop
asking for sweets if you don’t buy them.
allow food, bottles or sippy cups in bed.
Foods to limit or avoid
These foods are high in sugar, and promote tooth decay. If you give them, it’s best to give them after a meal, as dessert.
Avoid sticky, high sugar foods. They stay on teeth for a long time, and are hard to bursh off.
Foods that promote tooth decay
Limit these foods, and give only after a meal (for dessert).
Canned fruit in syrup
Sticky foods that promote tooth decay
Try to stay away from these foods. They stick to teeth and are hard to brush off.
Fruit roll ups
Numbers to know
- CHEO Dental Clinic (C-7)