As part of our dietary series, our #AOmazing team member Christen has adapted from the ADA some recommendations for diet for Children and Teens with or without Braces or Invisalign.

Children

Children need strong, healthy teeth to chew their food, speak and have a good-looking smile. What’s more, a good diet is essential for a child’s growth and development. Almost all foods, including milk or vegetables, have some type of sugar, which can contribute to tooth decay. To help control the amount of sugar your child consumes, always try to read food labels and choose foods and beverages that are low in added sugars. Also, select beverages, such as water, that hydrate and contribute to good nutrition.

What to Eat:

According to MyPlate, a website from the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, an agency of U.S. Department of Agriculture, a balanced diet should include:

  • Fruits and vegetables. Combined these should be half of what your child eats every day.
  • Grains. Make sure at least half of their grains are whole grains, such as oatmeal, whole wheat bread and brown rice.
  • Dairy. Choose low-fat or fat-free dairy foods.
  • Lean proteins. Make lean protein choices, such as lean beef, skinless poultry and fish. Try to vary protein choices to include eggs, beans, peas and legumes, too. Eat at least 8 oz. of seafood a week.

In addition to a nutritious diet, snacking habits, bottles and pacifiers also impact your child’s oral health.  Here are some tips to keep your child’s mouth healthy:

  • Place only formula, milk or breast milk in bottles. Avoid filling the bottle with liquids such as sugar water, juice or soft drinks.
  • Infants should finish their bedtime and naptime bottles before going to bed.
  • If your child uses a pacifier, provide one that is clean—don’t dip it in sugar or honey, or put it in your mouth before giving it to the child.
  • Encourage children to drink from a cup by their first birthday and discourage frequent or prolonged use of sippy cups.
  • Serve nutritious snacks and limit sweets to mealtimes.

 

Teens

Eating healthy foods helps keep your teeth and body healthy. Don’t eat or drink too many sweets. If you have something sweet, try to eat or drink it with a meal to limit the exposure time to your teeth. That’s because certain foods can put you at risk for cavities and other oral health problems? Here are some tips.

What to Eat:

According to MyPlate, a website from the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, an agency of U.S. Department of Agriculture, a balanced diet should include:

  • Fruits and vegetables. Combined these should be half of what you eat every day.
  • Grains. Make sure at least half of the grains you eat are whole grains, such as oatmeal, whole wheat bread and brown rice.
  • Dairy. Choose low-fat or fat-free dairy foods.
  • Lean proteins. Make lean protein choices, such as lean beef, skinless poultry and fish. Try and vary your protein choices to include eggs, beans, peas and legumes, too. Eat at least 8 oz. of seafood a week.

Snacking tips:

  • Snacking is hard to resist but you can do your mouth a favor by watching the amount of soda, juice or other sweetened beverages you drink.
  • If you want a snack, try and choose something like fruit, low-fat cheese, yogurt or raw vegetables.
  • If you chew gum, make sure it’s sugarless.

If you have braces: Good oral hygiene is especially important for people wearing braces. We recommend avoiding certain foods that could interfere with braces or accidentally bend the wires. These foods may include nuts, popcorn, hard candy, ice and sticky foods like chewing gum, caramel or other chewy candy.