Healthy Eating
Healthy eating habits early in life will help to ensure your child develops strong and healthy adult teeth.

Eating for Healthy Teeth

Foods high in refined carbohydrates (sugar), such as concentrated fruit snack bars, lollies, muesli bars, sweet biscuits, some breakfast cereals and sugary drinks and juices can contribute to dental decay, especially if eaten often and over long periods. This is because the sugar feeds the destructive bacteria in your baby's or toddler's mouth. The bacteria produce acid, which destroys your child's teeth. Highly refined packaged foods such as savoury crackers and chips can also have high levels of carbohydrate (sugar). Be sure to check the nutritional information panel on all packaged foods to help work out which foods and drinks have high carbohydrate and sugar levels.

While it's unrealistic to completely cut these foods out of your child's diet, the ADA has tips to help minimise dental decay in your child's teeth:

  • Your child should enjoy a wide variety of nutritious foods, especially foods rich in calcium and low in acids and sugars
  • Enjoy two healthy snacks a day such as fruit and a small portion of cheese - milk and hard cheeses such as cheddar have protective qualities to help prevent dental decay
  • Offer your child a diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables, wholegrain cereals, lean meats and dairy products
  • Limit sugary snacks such as lollies, fruit and muesli bars, biscuits, dried fruit, cordials, juices and soft drinks

You need to make sure you clean your child's teeth morning and night, as many healthy foods contain high amounts of sugar. Starchy foods (such as bread, pasta, crackers), fruits and milk products (including breast milk) consumed frequently can cause the growth of dental plaque (bacteria).

Importantly, a healthy diet must be complemented by good oral hygiene - brushing and flossing teeth and regular dental check-ups. Daily flossing and brushing greatly reduces the risk of tooth decay.