The Importance of a Healthy Diet
A healthy body and a healthy mouth are very closely connected, and your child’s teeth and gums need adequate nutrition to ensure they develop normally. Without proper nutrition your child is less able to fight off diseases, including gum disease, as their body will not have the tools to repair gum tissues and bone.
A nutritionally sound diet should contain plenty of fruits and vegetables, as well as dairy and lean meats, combined with the right types of starchy or carbohydrate rich foods and healthy oils. This will help supply all the vitamins and minerals necessary for a healthy body and healthy mouth. The following vitamins are particularly important for oral health:
- Vitamin B deficiencies can cause the tissues in the mouth to become weaker and paler, and it may lead to loss of taste, mouth lesions and excess salivation. In addition it can increase the risk of developing canker sores.
- Vitamin C deficiencies can cause gums to bleed more easily.
- Vitamin A deficiencies can lead to incomplete tooth development and cavities in younger children, as this vitamin is important for the formation of tooth enamel, while excessive levels can lead to oral health problems such as early gum disease. A deficiency in this vitamin can delay the healing of any mouth sores. Vitamin A is stored in the liver, so deficiencies can sometimes take up to a year to become evident.
- Vitamin D deficiencies in young children can impact tooth formation as this vitamin is essential for strong bones and healthy teeth.
- Vitamin K deficiencies can lead to increased bleeding as this vitamin is essential for blood clotting.
Foods that are high in sugars and fats, or which are heavily processed should be kept for the occasional treat. These foods are particularly bad for teeth and gums as they tend to stick to the teeth for longer, increasing the risk of gum disease and tooth decay.
Your Pediatric Dentist Can Advise You on Good Nutrition
It can often be quite tricky to work out which foods are best, as many can seem healthy but contain hidden sugars; a good example is fruit juice. This is where your pediatric dentist can help, through providing easy-to-understand information on the types of foods that are best for teeth and gums, as well as for general good health.
Is your child a fussy eater?
We can help advise you on the best foods to ensure their diet is balanced, and where necessary can recommend supplements, including fluoride supplements.
A well-balanced diet containing the right amounts of minerals and vitamins is vitally important for oral and general health.