When it comes to your child’s smile, you can never overstate the importance of regular brushing and flossing. However, what often gets overlooked are the vitamins and minerals that are an essential aspect of healthy teeth. Now, we’re not oblivious to the fact that kids can be picky eaters. If given the choice between candy and a carrot, we know kids will naturally want to choose the carrot.
The following is a list of vitamins and minerals that are essential to helping your child’s teeth remain healthy. Also, we’ve included some recommendations on how parents can incorporate them into a child’s diet with the least amount of fighting possible.
Calcium is the mineral that is most commonly associated with dental health. Why? Because your teeth are primarily made out of calcium. In fact, we recommend that if your child ever chips a tooth to preserve the tooth in a cup of milk. Milk is loaded with calcium and is the best preservation method for a tooth fragment. The more calcium your child consumes, the better their overall dental health will be.
Calcium can also be found in foods like cheese, yogurt, soybeans or kale. Calcium is one of the easier foods to incorporate into your child’s diet. Tons of kids love cheese. If your child is lactose intolerant, a great source of calcium is figs. You can find plenty of fruit squeeze pouch snacks that contain figs at your local grocery store.
Healthy levels of vitamin D have traditionally been associated with healthy bone development, but there are links to vitamin D also contributing to oral health. According to studies conducted by the National Library of Medicine, issues like cavities and gum disease have been linked to vitamin D deficiencies.
Vitamin D is most commonly found in foods like fish and mushrooms, both of which we know don’t appeal to a child’s taste buds. Fortunately, there is another food that is high in vitamin D that kids generally do like: eggs. Simply cycle in some scrambled eggs into your child’s breakfast routine and their levels of vitamin D should increase.
Vitamin A may not have a direct link to supporting healthy teeth, but it does have a direct link to saliva production. Healthy saliva levels are essential for healthy teeth. Saliva helps keep your teeth clean by helping to break down food particles. It also naturally helps clear out bacteria that can lead to gum disease or cavities.
If you’re looking for potent levels of vitamin A, liver and fish really pack a punch. But what kid wants to eat liver? A good alternative to liver or fish that is kid friendly would be sweet potatoes. Instead of regular French fries one night, try sweet potato fries.
Iron is a mineral that directly contributes to the healthy production of red blood cells. Red blood cells are essential to helping your immune system fight disease and infection. If your body has healthy levels of red blood cells, that means it is better equipped to fight off oral bacteria infections.
You can find iron in a lot of different foods. You can find particularly high levels of iron in red meat, shellfish and spinach. Again, we know all of those foods aren’t exactly appealing to a child. One food that may appeal to them is beans. We’ve heard of parents sneaking beans into the tacos on Taco Tuesday and reported that their kids never even noticed.