Prevention is the best defence we have against decay and cavities.
Some foods and beverages are acidic or sticky and sweet and can damage teeth.
Eating fruit often between meals can damage teeth, as fruit is sweet and acidic and can contribute towards tooth erosion. When children eat fruit between meals, we suggest that they follow up with a small square of cheese, or a drink of water or milk. This washes out the acid from the mouth. Children who like to eat an apple before bed should also brush their teeth straight after.
For a healthy, balanced diet, children need three pieces of fruit and five vegetables a day, a high intake of grains eg. wholegrain bread and cereal, and protein eg. meat, fish etc. and three intakes of dairy products eg. plain milk, cheese and natural yoghurt.
High Acid and Sugar Snacks
- Fruit Juices
- Flavoured Milks (Milo, Quik, Big M)
- Sports Drinks
- Soft Drinks
- Sweetened Cereal, Such as Nutri-Grain and Coco Pops
- Dried Fruit
- Dried Fruit Bars, Ie. Sultanas and Apricots
- Dried Fruit Bars, Including Roll Ups and Muesli Bars
- Sweet Biscuits
- Lollies – Including Natural Snakes Chocolate
Snacks That Are Tooth Friendly
- Dry Biscuits (Crackers)
- Sliced Ham, Salmon or Turkey
- Popcorn (Unsalted)
- Plain Rice Cakes
- Cut up Vegetables with Dips Such as Tzatziki or Hummus
- Cheese Slices
- Peanut Butter
- Vegemite and Butter
- Rather than having lollies in the house, buy a treat for your child once a week, like a plain chocolate freddo frog, an icy-pole or an ice-cream (something that is not sticky and goes through the mouth quickly. Artificial and natural jelly snakes, Roll-ups, chupa chups and minties cause tooth decay because they are sticky and stay in the mouth for longer.
- Do grocery shopping alone and buy savory items not sweet.
- The best cereals according to the Australian institute of Sport are weet-bix and Vita brits. The cereals which cause the most damage to your teeth are nutri-grain and coco pops.
- At parties, children should eat lollies all at once instead of saving them for later. If unable to brush immediately after lollies or the like, chewing sugar-free gum for 10 minutes is a good alternative. This type of gum stimulates saliva flow that washes out the mouth.
- If making lolly bags for parties, include sugar-free chewing, non-sticky foods and novelty items.
- Sweet drinks are less damaging if taken through a straw. This keeps the drink off the teeth. Drinking it all in one go is better than sipping for a long time. This reduces the time of sweet exposure. Flavoured sip-a-straws also cause cavities.
- Remember that it is the number of times that the teeth are exposed to sweet, sticky and acid things that is important, not the amount consumed.
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