GETTING your little ones to brush their teeth morning and night is a tough task alone.
But banning certain foods and drinks from your kids is even harder. However, dentists say there are some things they would just never give to their kids.
We’ve spoken to Dr Mahsa Shoaei (DDS) from Nejati Clinic who has revealed the top eight foods she would not give to children.
Some of them are not only bad for teeth but also for their overall health.
Dr Shoaei, who also boasts a huge Instagram following of 585,000, said: “My main focus is prevention and informing patients of better self oral care.
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“Anti-microbial treatment of the gums and giving patients a fresh breath where they feel confident in smiling more.
“My main focus is preserving patients' own teeth and making sure the foundation (gums) are healthy so patients can keep their own teeth in older age.
“I have developed my own method that’s customised to each patient’s need and it is focused on healthy gums.
“Sugar – of course – is one of the worst foods for children’s teeth. Microorganisms naturally found in your mouth convert sugars into acid and this causes tooth decay.”
The expert, who has been a dentist for more than 18 years, holds a special interest in antimicrobial treatment, fresh breath and whitening whilst encouraging her patients to maintain and look after their own natural teeth.
These are the top foods she would not give to kids…
FRUIT DRINKS AND SPORTS DRINKS
Dr Shoaei said she would never give fruit drinks or sports drinks to kids as these are very acidic and sugary – meaning they can cause tooth decay.
She said: “I wouldn’t replace sugar free drinks with the normal versions either.
“These are not good because the sugar is replaced with artificial sugar which is also acidic regardless of whether it is sugar free or not.”
The expert dentist said she’d also steer clear of giving kids chips, otherwise known as French fries.
Simply because these don’t hold any nutritional value.
She said: “Additionally, the starch in them harms the teeth. In the mouth, it breaks down into simple sugars. It gets stuck between the teeth and can cause tooth decay.”
Dr Mahsa Shoaei also would not give children dried fruit as the dried fruit is a lot like sticky, chewy candy.
The fruit snacks and dried fruit can get stuck to the child’s enamel and become a feeding ground for bacteria.
LOTS OF CITRUS FRUIT
As much as fruit is good for kids, it should only be enjoyed in moderation – says Dr Shoaei.
The dentist said: “Citrus fruits are very acidic but if you rinse with water and brush your teeth after consuming, it can lower the risk of cavity.”
TOO MUCH BREAD
Another one to make sure you don’t give kids excessively is bread.
Bread is high in starch and covered in simple sugar that can cause tooth decay.
Dr Shoaei said: “If your child has optimal oral hygiene and you are helping them with brushing and keeping their teeth cleaned, bread can be consumed in moderation without causing any tooth decay.”
GUMMY LUNCH-BAG SNACKS
The expert dentist said she would never give children gummy lunch-bag snacks.
These jelly-like snacks are loaded with sugar and are prone to sticking to teeth, especially the molars where it’s hard to clean.
She added: “Plus, the sour ones are extra unhealthy due to a combination of acidity, stickiness and sugar!”
Another one that the dentist would avoid – that may surprise a lot of parents – are gummy multivitamins.
She explained: “Gummy multivitamins are usually made with glucose syrup or sucrose which are basically sugars.
“Try to look for sugar free versions instead.”
Lastly, the dentist said she would never give kids pretzels to snack on.
She said: “These salty snacks leave a sticky carbohydrate on the teeth that also sticks to the enamel all day and can cause cavities.”
Instead, Dr Shoaei provided her tips for what kids should eat – that will encourage their healthy teeth.
DR SHOAEI TIPS FOR WHAT KIDS SHOULD EAT:
- Your child should eat more nuts as they are high in phosphorus and calcium
- Apples are full in fibre and great in scrubbing the plaque away
- Carrots and celery because the fibre and water found in these vegetables help to balance the mouth’s PH
- Green leafy vegetables are foods full of folic acids and can improve the health of teeth and gums
- Eggs have plenty of protein, calcium and VitaminD. These minerals are essential for oral health.
However, it’s not just about choosing good food for your children.
She said: “In addition to choosing good food for teeth, your children should practice brushing their teeth twice a day for three minutes.
“Plus, up to the age of 10, an adult should help them to reach their back teeth.
“Most cavities can be seen in the molars mainly because they have deep fissures and food gets stuck inside them and because children can not reach all the way back to keep them clean.
“We also start to introduce floss when all adult teeth have erupted, usually around age 13. This will help them to keep clean between their teeth where the majority of decay happens”
Dr Shoaei also recommended children see their dentist and hygienist every six months so they can support them in their oral health and give them information about their diet.
The expert explained the key is to ensure children have fun when they visit their dentist or hygienist and that it’s an informative session with basic language so they can understand.
Dr Shoaei added: “I also leave some time to answer their questions because I find they are all very interested in knowing more about their teeth.
“Building a good relationship is key so kids can look forward to their next visit!”
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