Information by Age Group:
0-12 Months 1-4 Years 5-10 Years 11+ Years General

Diet and Snacking

What is a healthy diet for my child?

A healthy diet consists of a balanced diet that supplies all the necessary nutrients for your child to grow. Be sure to include the following major food groups every day: Fruits and Vegetables, Breads and Cereals, Milk and Dairy Products, Meat and Fish and Eggs. Limit sugary and sticky foods as they may adhere to your child’s teeth and cause caries.

How does my child's diet affect her dental health?

A balanced diet helps teeth develop properly and allows for healthy gums to grow and support the teeth. A diet high sugar and starches may put your child at higher risk of developing tooth decay.

How do I make my child's diet safe for his teeth?

Encourage your child to eat and follow a healthy balanced diet. Monitor how frequently he/she eats foods with sugar or starch in them. Foods with starch include pastas, breads, crackers, pretzels and potato chips. Many foods consist of a variety of different types of sugars and can be found in fruits, some vegetables and most milk products.

Should my child give up all foods with sugar or starch?

Many of foods that contain sugar and starch also provide nutrients for your child to grow. Select and serve foods wisely for your child. When eaten with a meal, sugar and starches are safer for teeth as they can be washed away from the teeth from water or milk. When sugary foods are eaten as snacks such as dried fruit or toffee have more potential in causing cavities as they adhere to the teeth for extended periods of time.

Does a balanced diet assure that my child is getting enough fluoride?

Fluoride is important in protection your child’s teeth from decay. A balanced diet does not guarantee the proper amount of fluoride for the maintenance of your child’s teeth. Your child may need a fluoride supplement during the years of tooth development. Talk to your dentist to assess how much fluoride your child should be receiving.

My youngest isn't on solid foods yet. Do you have suggestions for her?

Don't nurse your daughter to sleep or put her to bed with a bottle of milk, formula, juice, or sweetened liquid. While she sleeps, any unswallowed liquid in the mouth supports bacteria that produce acids and attack the teeth. Protect your child from severe tooth decay by putting her to bed with nothing more than a pacifier or bottle of water.

Any final advice?

Here are tips for your child's diet and dental health.
  • Follow a balanced diet for your child, your pediatric dentist may suggest some healthy snacks and meals.
  • Be aware of the foods you buy. Limit the sugary and starchy snacks and save them for special occasions.
  • Avoid putting your young child to bed with a bottle of milk, formula or juice. 

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