Healthy foods for teeth

High-sugar foods and frequent eating are clearly linked to tooth decay. Try substituting fresh fruit and vegetables for sweetened prepared foods.

Help children preserve their teeth by avoiding or limiting:

  • sweet drinks
  • candy
  • jelly
  • jam
  • cake
  • cookies
  • sugared gelatin
  • sweetened, canned fruit

Facts About Sugar and Teeth

Here are some important facts about sugar and teeth:

  • Natural sugars (such as maple syrup and honey) are just as harmful to teeth as refined sugar.
  • Sticky sweets (such as caramel) are particularly harmful because they remain on the teeth longer than other sweets.
  • Eating a sweet all at once is better than eating one over a period of time (such as a lollipop) or eating sweets often (such as mints or hard candies throughout the day).
  • Sweet sticky fruits, such as raisins and dates, should be eaten with a meal.
  • Because teeth are attacked by the decay process each time food is put in the mouth, frequent eating or snacking continuously (grazing) can cause problems.
  • Tooth brushing or rinsing with water after eating reduces the time teeth are exposed to the decay process.
  • Babies shouldn’t be put to bed with a bottle. Prolonged feeding can result in serious tooth decay. (Putting babies to bed or in a lying-down position with a bottle also increases the risk of ear infection and choking.)
  • Milk, formula, sweetened liquids, or fruit juices all contain sugars.
  • Whenever possible, give children water to drink instead of fruit juices or sweetened liquids.
  • Rewarding good behavior with candy or other sweets teaches children to reward themselves with sugary foods.