In What Ways Do Eating Habits Affect Children’s Teeth

Ever heard of, “we become what we eat?” This popular saying is true for children’s dental health too. The foods we eat and our eating habits affect the teeth and the overall state of our dental health. In what ways do eating habits affect children’s teeth, you might ask? A diet rich in sugary foods can contribute to a higher risk of cavities and gum problems in kids.

Children often love sugary and processed foods and may indulge in eating habits that can be detrimental to the teeth. This often leads to cavities and gum diseases. In this article, we will look at the ways eating habits affect children’s teeth and how to build healthy eating habits to ensure good dental health.


How Bad Eating Habits Affect Children’s Teeth?

Bad or unhealthy eating habits can negatively affect children’s teeth. It can contribute to a range of dental problems including tooth decay and other gum diseases. To prevent this from occurring, the connection between one’s diet and dental or oral health must be understood in order to cultivate habits that will keep the teeth healthy.

The consumption of excessive amounts of sugary snacks and processed foods constantly exposes the teeth to sugars and acids. Frequent consumption of sugary foods deprives the mouth of the time to neutralize these acids which can lead to decay. It gives the bacterial in the mouth things to feed on further producing acids that can erode the enamel of the teeth.

Sugary foods tend to be sticky and cling to the teeth. This makes it difficult for the action of saliva to rise them off. Asides the unhealthy consumption of foods high in sugar, a poor nutrition can also adversely affect the teeth.

Diets that are lacking in vitamins and minerals can weaken the immune system and affect its ability to fight infections, including those that affect the gums. Inadequate consumption of foods rich in vitamin C can also cause conditions like scurvy, which can lead to bleeding gums and other gum issues.

Foods low in fiber can also cause constipation, bad breath, and an unhealthy oral environment. Eating too many sugary foods or eating sugary and processed foods too frequently affects teeth health. An imbalanced diet can also contribute to teeth deterioration and diseases.


How Does Diet Influence The Quality Of a Child’s Teeth?

Diet greatly contributed to the quality of a child’s teeth as it influences its development, strength and and general health.

In childhood when the teeth are still forming and growing, a balanced and healthy nutrition is very important to support the growth process. Minerals and vitamins like calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D help in the formation of strong tooth enamel.

In the absence of these minerals, the enamel may not develop properly making the teeth vulnerable to decay and damage.

Asides enamel formation, vitamins and minerals are necessary for dental health. For the maintenance of healthy teeth and gums, the diet should contain fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and dairy products.

Citrus fruits and leafy greens are good sources of vitamin C, which helps to prevent gum disease. Other vitamins, like vitamin A, support the development of healthy mucous in the mouth, which acts as a natural defense against oral infections.

Vitamin D promotes tooth development and maintenance and can be gotten from sunlight exposure as well as food sources like fatty fish and fortified dairy products.

Fluoride is also an important element in maintaining dental health. It strengthens the enamel and inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria in the mouth. Regular exposure to fluoride, either from toothpastes, professional fluoride treatments, or fluoridated water, helps to prevent tooth decay and cavities.

Read Also: Snack Ideas for Toddlers – Lunch Snack for Kids & Babies


How Do The Foods You Eat and Your Eating Habits Affect The Health Of Your Teeth?

The content of the foods we eat or consume and our eating habits or rituals all contribute to the health of the teeth.

For instance, the consumption of snacks or beverages high in sugar or acids, kind of activates the harmful bacteria in the mouth. These bacteria produce potent acids that attack the enamel, the protective outer layer of the teeth.

Saliva naturally neutralizes these acids and remineralizes the enamel; however, frequent consumption of these foods means the saliva is not given enough time to repair the enamel. This facilitates the decay of the tooth. To prevent this, it is necessary to moderately consume snacks while giving your mouth the chance to recover.

Habits such as oral hygiene also affects the health of the teeth just like diet. Ideally, proper brushing and flossing can help remove left off food particles and prevent plaque formation. However, when brushing is not done properly, the reverse is the case.

Poor oral hygiene gives room for the formation of plaque and the buildup of harmful bacteria which can harden into tartar and cause tooth decay and gum disease. A proper and consistent oral routine as well as regular dental check-ups is necessary to maintain good dental health.

Also, when choosing toothpastes and mouthwashes, go for options with fluoride or antibacterial agents as they offer some protection against gum and teeth issues.

Healthy and balanced diets promote teeth health while poor nutrition makes the teeth vulnerable to damage. Also, good eating habits should be upheld always. Drinking the right amount of water daily also promotes teeth health as it helps to rinse off food particles and promote saliva production which acts as buffer against acids and remineralizes the gum.


What are Some Foods Or Drinks That Will Help Children Keep Their Teeth Healthy?

Foods and drinks that will help children keep their teeth healthy are the ones that contain essentials like vitamins and minerals. Here are some foods and drinks that can help children to maintain strong and healthy teeth:

Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits like apples and strawberries, as well as vegetables like carrots and celery, are good sources of vitamins and minerals that strengthen dental health. They are rich in fiber, which promotes saliva production and helps to clean the teeth naturally. They also promote gum health.

Dairy Products

Dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cheese are filled with minerals like calcium and phosphorus which help in strengthening tooth enamel. Cheese, especially, helps to raise the pH in the mouth therefore reducing the risk of tooth decay.

Leafy Greens

Leafy greens like spinach and kale are rich in vitamins and minerals, including calcium and folic acid. Calcium promotes enamel strength, and folic acid supports gum health.

Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds provide a healthy dose of calcium and phosphorus. Chewing them or adding them to your meals can help to stimulate saliva production and the natural cleaning of the teeth. Example of such nuts and seeds include, almonds and sesame seeds.

Lean Proteins

Lean proteins like poultry, and fish are rich in phosphorus. Phosphorus, along with calcium, contributes to strong tooth structure formation.


Water helps to rinse away food particles and acids, reducing the risk of tooth decay. It also prevents dry mouth, which can increase the risk of oral health problems. Fluoridated water provides additional protection by strengthening tooth enamel.

Sugar-Free Gum

Sugar-free chewing gum which may be sweetened with xylitol, can stimulate saliva production and help clean the teeth after meals or snacks. Xylitol has properties that allows it to inhibit the growth of bacteria that cause cavities.

Green and Black Tea

Both green and black teas contain compounds called polyphenols that help to inhibit the growth of harmful mouth bacteria. They also contain fluoride, which strengthens tooth enamel.

Adding these foods and drinks into a child’s meal plan not only supports their overall health but also contributes to strong and healthy teeth. It’s however important to balance this with regular dental hygiene practices, such as brushing and flossing. The consumption of sugary and acidic foods and drinks should also be limited to maintain optimal dental health.

Read Also: Is Green Tea Safe for Kids? – Age, Benefits & Side Effects of Green Tea 


Best Eating Habits For Healthy Teeth In Children

Your children’s eating habits go a long way in determining the health of their teeth. Here are some of the best eating habits for healthy teeth in children that parents can inculcate in their children:

Lead by Example

Children copy the behaviors of adults around them. By practicing healthy eating habits and you set a good example for your child to follow.

Limit Sugary and Acidic Foods

Encourage children to consume sugary and acidic foods and beverages moderately. Help them understand the impact candies, sodas, fruit juices, and sticky snacks have on their teeth. Explain the potential harm these foods can cause to their teeth in the long run.

Promote Balanced Meals

Structure the meals in a way that a little of every food group is consumed regularly. This would help maintain teeth health.

Drink Water

Encourage your child to drink water throughout the day. This will help flush off food particles that may stick to the teeth.

Limit Sticky and Chewy Snacks

Snacks like dried fruits and chewy granola bars can stick to teeth, increasing the risk of tooth decay. Ensure your child thoroughly rinses their mouth with water after consumption.

Regular Dental Check-Ups

Schedule routine dental check-ups for your child. These appointments will help in early detection and management of dental issues.

Good Oral Hygiene

Teach your child proper brushing and flossing methods. Continuously supervise their oral care routines until they can do it effectively on their own. Try to make it a fun and constant part of their daily routine.

Use Fluoride Toothpaste

Use the age appropriate fluoride toothpaste for your child to strengthen tooth enamel and protect against cavities.



Our habits and practices affect the state of our teeth and dental health. To promote good dental health in your children, you must help them imbibe teeth friendly cultures like eating balanced meals, limiting sugary and processed foods consumption, constant and proper brushing and flossing as well as regular dental check-ups.

With this, you can keep their teeth strong and healthy and their smiles vibrant.