When our kids are little, their development and nutrition are primary concerns. Our job, as parents, is to ensure they consume the right food and drink choices that allow them to grow and build a health foundation for their future. An important part of early development and nutrition, is dental health. Young teeth need enough calcium, vitamins, and minerals to properly grow and stay healthy. Since healthy living starts with healthy eating at a young age, I will outline some tips to ensure your children start their oral health on the right track.
- Breastfeed for the first 6 months.
Breastmilk is a natural vitamin drink. Breastmilk is natural and nature has ensured that infants get all their intended health benefits from breastmilk. In the first 6 months, the child is growing a lot and developing his or her stomach bacteria. Breastmilk is a perfect and natural source for everything a child needs to develop healthy teeth early on.
2. Switch to solid food after 6 months
After 6 months, the child develops certain nutritional needs that cannot be provided by breastmilk alone. One of these vital nutrients is iron, which breastmilk contains too little for optimal oral health, at around 0.35mg per liter. Include soft foods such as mushed squash and carrots in your child’s diet.
3. Water is the best drink around bedtime
When you’re ready to send your little one off to dreamland, make sure to give them water only, and not juice or sugary drinks. Drinking sweet drinks before bedtime can lead to tooth decay and cavities, as bacteria have the entire night to eat away at the sugary residue left on the teeth. The last thing you want is to do is risk your little one’s oral health, which may lead to expensive dental and orthodontic services later on.
4. Avoid dipping the Pacifier in Sugar or Sweets
While using a pacifier is a commonly employed strategy to ‘pacify’ the baby, dipping in in anything sweet is a bad idea. Why? You don’t want your child to develop a craving for sweets early on. Too many sweets in childhood often leads to cavities and tooth decay, let alone an entire slew of sugar-related health problems.
5. Be cautious with fruit juice
While fruit juice is a great way to provide your baby with vitamins and minerals in an easily digestible way, they are loaded with sugar. Look at the side of your apple or grape juice package, you will see it has at least 20grams of sugar, which is a considerable amount for an adult, let alone a baby! A good solution is to dilute the juice with water, reducing the concentration of sugars per serving.