Food and Baby Teeth – Friend or Foe?

adv_4spediatricd_drspencerWe all know what our children should be eating and we are also very aware of what they are eating. Now the big question is, how do we get that all lined up? Here are some helpful hints and food tips of things to look for and apply with daily eating habits and snacking:

The less processed the better, even if ingredients are listed as organic. When it comes to teeth, whole foods in their natural state are the best. When foods are processed, many of the protective and nutritive parts of the food are taken out. A whole apple makes for a better snack than apple juice.

Stay away from sticky. We all know that eating those gooey, sticky candies are no good at all. What about the healthier side of the spectrum? Imagine eating an apple vs. a banana vs. dried apricots. All healthy and readily available in the organic section, but miles apart in creating risk of decay. The apple feels clean after eating, while the banana feels a little fuzzy on the teeth. The dried fruit, however, can stick to our teeth for quite some time and increase our chances for cavities.

Frequency is not our friend. Our poor kids have such small stomachs, and it feels like they are constantly wanting to eat snacks. Eating frequently never really allows our mouth to have a rest and chance to get the pH level back to normal. So how do we win? Scheduled feedings are best. Aim for snack time to be done while sitting, and the kids can focus on the food. If you’re at the park, have them come and sit, eat, finish, and go play again. It’s the grabbing a bite, going and playing for ten minutes, and coming back to get another bite that adds up.

Ask and discuss. During your child’s dental visit is the perfect time to talk about foods and strategies. I love it when parents and I can discuss the individual needs of each child. Discovering the right way to help your little one win is one of my favorite things about being their pediatric dentist.

One last note, a big kudos to all of you that are trying your best. Parenting is not for wimps – thank you for letting us be part of the team.


Dr. Spencer Mauseth
4S Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics
16918 Dove Canyon Road #203
San Diego, CA 92127