A more nutritious diet can help your child live a fuller, more healthy childhood. There are endless dietary actions that you can take to improve your child’s health, but one of the most common and effective methods is to add more fruits and vegetables to their diet. But, not all fruit was created equal. Sometimes, fruit can wreak havoc on young teeth that leads to cavities and tooth decay. Here’s some instances when fruit isn’t so peachy for your child’s health.
Dried fruit is a food that you should avoid if you’re trying to improve your child’s oral health. Dried fruit contains much higher levels of sugar than their natural counterparts, and none of the water that helps make fruit so healthy. Let’s use prunes as an example. Prunes are just dried plums, except just one cup of prunes contains more than 400 calories and 45 grams of sugar. However, one plum contains just 75 calories and 16 grams of sugar. The bottom line is that you should choose fresh fruit and not dried fruit.
Sugary Fruit Juice
Fruit juice may seem like a good alternative to sodas and other sugary beverages, but fruit juice often contains as much – if not more – sugar than some of the leading sodas. Fruit juice has been extracted from the fruit, and in the process, it loses a lot of its nutritional value. After the fiber has been taken out of juice, what’s left is essentially sugar and water. Limit the amount of sugary fruit juices your child consumes, or, dilute juice with some water to reduce the sugar concentration.
Fruit Packed in Syrup
A lot of canned fruit is packed in a syrup that contains unhealthy amounts of sugar. The added sugar can lead to cavities, and many more health issues if your child eats it too frequently and in large quantities. When you are shopping for canned fruit, look for those that have no added sugar or those packed in 100% fruit juice. But the healthiest way to enjoy fruit is by eating fruit that hasn’t been altered in any way.
Smoothies can be a fantastic way to get the nutritional benefits of fruit, and the added mouth-healthy rewards of nonfat Greek yogurt. However, if made improperly, smoothies can be packed with sugar and calories. When making (or buying) a smoothie, make sure to limit using fruit high in sugar. Try to avoid figs, grapes, mangoes, pomegranates and cherries, since these fruits have very high amounts of sugar.
Citric fruits like oranges, grapefruits, lemons and tangerines have a high amount of acid in them that can lead to tooth enamel erosion. Enamel erosion leaves teeth more susceptible to cavities and tooth decay. If you serve your child citrus fruits, rinse their mouth out with water after they’re done eating to wash the acid away, and help prevent cavities from forming.
Does Your Child Have a Healthy Diet?
Our office helps parents teach their children about earning a healthy smile, and keeping it long after they leave our office. A mouth-healthy diet is an important part of maintaining optimal oral health. If you’re concerned about how your child’s diet may be affecting their teeth, then bring them into our office. We will evaluate their smiles and offer a variety of treatment options that fit their case. We can also give you tips on eating for better oral health, and point out food that can lead to tooth decay.