Keep your perfect smile by eating healthy
SUMMARY: Eating frequent healthy snacks as a young child can help down the line with proper food consumption and a beautiful mouth.
Posted: April 9, 2013
Having a healthy and beautiful smile begins when you're a child. From the moment the first tooth appears in your mouth, regularly visiting the dentist, consuming healthy foods and maintaining a regular regimen of brushing and flossing ensures stunning pearly whites down the road. As a parent, it's important to teach your children the benefits of having a healthy mouth. One of the best things parents can do is encourage healthy eating from a young age, and teach by example.
Begin with natural foods
?Oral health issues like bad breath and tooth decay are directly related to how an individual cares for his or her mouth. Since healthy eating plays a large role in eliminating these issues, you may want to teach a child good eating habits when he is young. According to Susan Mercado, a representative of the World Health Organization, children should begin eating fresh, healthy foods when they are babies. Instead of purchasing baby foods, some of which contain added sugar or seasoning, boiling and blending vegetables and putting them through a food processor can get babies used to the tastes of natural food.
Sugar and salt are not good for the body or mouth, and starting to add these substances to food at a young age makes it challenging for anyone to wean themselves off of it later in life. For children who are older and already used to these things, it's still possible to adjust them to healthier eating habits. Parents should begin by slowly swapping out unhealthy items for good ones. You can begin with whole grains, fruits and vegetables that would replace starch-heavy products like pasta, potatoes and bread. Traditional white bread is one of the worst foods to eat, and can quickly cause bad breath in children. This highly processed staple should be swapped out for whole grain or quinoa-based breads.
Some studies also show that kids who eat more frequently are healthier because they are not forced to gorge on a large meal later in the day. Parents should give their children apples, celery, carrots and other fresh produce as snacks throughout the day. These items will work to "brush" the teeth – they contain a high level of good starch that rinses away dental plaque – when there is no access to a toothbrush. These snacks are also rich in vitamins and nutrients that will keep their breath smelling fresh and keep their gums healthy.
Did you know that eating foods without proper amounts of vitamins, minerals, fatty acids and omega-3s can also deter your mood? How's that for stress eating? Research published in the journal Molecular Oral Microbiology found that omega-3 fatty acids can get rid of bad breath because they lower the amount of bacteria that can accumulate and cause halitosis. Other vitamins, minerals and antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables, such as strawberries, produce similar results. Encouraging children to eat these foods while they are young will get them accustomed to eating large amounts of fresh produce to alleviate bad breath problems through their childhood and adult life.
In conjunction with healthy eating, it's important to make sure the products your children are using are working to combat bad breath properly, while keeping harmful bacteria at bay. Natural products and alcohol-free mouthwash don't dry out the mouth like some traditional products are known to do, and they contain ingredients that parents can feel comfortable giving to their young children.