Eating and drinking habits
As well as maintaining good oral hygiene through daily brushing and flossing, it is important to limit your child's sugary food and drink intake. Added sugar is the largest contributor in the development of tooth decay. Beware though, it is not just well-known sugary foods such as lollies, cakes and biscuits but foods such as breakfast cereal, muesli bars and flavoured yoghurts can include a lot of added sugar.
When it comes to drinks, water and milk are the best options for healthy teeth. Soft drink, cordial, sports drinks, energy drinks and fruit juice can be high in sugar which can increase your child's risk of developing tooth decay. Sugar-free options of these drinks are also not recommended as a replacement as they can still affect the teeth by wearing away the tooth structure (known as tooth erosion). Fresh fruit accompanied by water makes a great tooth-friendly snack to replace fruit juice.
Tooth-friendly snacks include carrot and celery sticks, hard cheese and fresh fruit. Making your child's meals and snacks from scratch can help to limit the amount of added sugar and allows for the use of fresh ingredients.
If you are providing a sweet treat, try to do so as part of main mealtimes and limit ongoing snacking between meals. These eating behaviours can increase the risk of tooth decay developing.
If you are struggling for time, have fussy eaters or looking for healthier options, this podcast featuring Paediatric Dietician Dr Kyla Smith gives a great insight into how to get your kids to try anything.