Author Bio: This guest post is brought to you by Durango Dental of Colorado. Dr. Belt and his team at Durango dentistry are dedicated to providing comfortable care for your teeth and helping to prevent health issues along the way with a tailored plan for each patient.
Dentists have a tendency to rain on my parade, and their latest list of foods to avoid is no exception. Sure, I was forced to see reason when they told us that gummy bears were a bad idea, but now, they’re tut-tutting over citrus fruits. It was bad enough being the last mom in America to learn that the five-second rule is a hoax. I’d better clean up my kids’ diet before I’m declared an altogether unfit parent.
Anyone would think that the vitamins and antioxidants in berries render them harmless – that is, anyone but a dentist. Berries are taboo due to hyper-pigmentation. That’s a fancy way of saying that they stain teeth. Also, their seeds abrade enamel during brushing. Parents shouldn’t forbid berries, but they should serve them in moderation. Kids should brush ever so gently after eating them. Overconsumption can be avoided by reserving half the berries for throwing at one another.
I could suck down a bagful of lemon drops in one afternoon, but I concede the point on this one. Not only is the sugar content sky-high, but it loiters about on the teeth until the candy dissolves. There’s also the risk of impatiently biting into the treat and cracking or chipping a tooth. Sugarless gum is recommended instead, but there are no guarantees that it won’t end up in somebody’s hair.
Chewing ice slowly destroys tooth enamel and annoys the heck out of everybody. If my child protests this new restriction, I’ll hardly go into a lengthy scientific explanation: “If you chomp that ice one more time . . .”
Almonds are one of healthiest snacking options. They’re tasty, loaded with good fats and chock-full of vitamin E. However, biting into a particularly hard almond can do irreparable damage. According to a recent study, almond-related accidents are the third-leading cause of emergency room visits. At least, that’s what I’m telling my kids. Dentists implore us to soak the almonds before serving or to buy the sliced variety so that we can still benefit by eating them.
Sticky, sugary treats plaster concentrated sugar all over the teeth. Furthermore, when bits get lodged in the crevasses between teeth, bacteria have a field day. Severely limit commercially dried fruit snacks, or rinse them before serving.
Dense, sugary breads stick to your teeth just like a peanut butter sandwich to the roof of your mouth. When pieces get trapped in pockets, bacteria pounce. Since pediatricians also frown on white bread, kids will have trouble garnering sympathy. Try a low sugar whole grain bread, instead.
Some pickled foods are high in sugar. Even sour varieties are steeped in enamel-eroding vinegar. Acid is the troublemaker here. This leaves moms everywhere in a pickle, but dentists have a solution: Pair pickled snacks with cheese. The calcium in it counteracts the acid.
Again, acidity poses a problem. When tooth enamel is slowly worn away, there’s no replacing it. Painful mouth sores are an additional side effect. Even dentists know that scurvy is not just a concern for pirates. They advise limiting portions of citrus and cleaning the mouth as soon as possible after eating.
Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater. Eliminate candy, soda and junk food, but serve reasonable portions of healthy foods. Vary your children’s diet; different foods work together to enhance the benefits of all. The experts are sticking to their guns on the importance of brushing and flossing. In addition, they recommend teaching kids to swish water in their mouths throughout each meal.
I’m rethinking my attitude about dentists. Were it not for the oral atrocities they’ve witnessed, they might be more fun to hang out with. They’re only trying to ensure that when I’m long in the tooth, my kids will still have theirs.