The Role Of Nutrition In Pediatric Dental Health

As dental health care professionals, pediatric dentistry of tracy are often among the first to recognize dietary choices’ impact on a child’s overall well-being. For this reason, they are also often among the first to offer nutritional counseling.

The foods children choose to eat directly affect their long-term dental health. Sugary drinks and snacks breed bacteria that cause cavities, while diets low in calcium and vitamin C lead to weakened gum tissue.

Tooth Decay

Tooth decay is a disease that affects people of all ages. It happens when bacteria in the mouth change carbohydrates (such as sugars and starches) that remain on teeth into acids that wear away at tooth enamel over time, forming a small hole in the tooth called a cavity.

The bacteria that cause cavities can be spread from person to person through kissing, sharing food or drinks, and using the same toothbrush. Certain foods like milk, ice cream, soda, raisins, hard candy, sweets, cookies, cake, fruit juices, and some cereals tend to cling to teeth longer, giving the bacteria more fuel to produce acids that wear down the enamel.

Brushing, flossing, regular teeth cleanings, and visiting the dentist every six to 12 months can help prevent decay. If a cavity is found, early treatment with fluoride (available as varnish, gel, or foam) can stop and reverse the damage to the tooth’s enamel. The dentist can also recommend a stronger fluoride toothpaste or a professional topical fluoride treatment to help restore the protective enamel layer to the tooth.

Gum Disease

While you may think of gum disease as an adult dental concern, it’s also a problem for kids. Children can get the mildest form of chronic gingivitis, characterized by swollen gums that often bleed when brushing or flossing. Gingivitis is easily treatable by improving oral hygiene practices like daily brushing and flossing, regular professional cleanings at the pediatric dentist’s office, and avoiding sugary foods and drinks.

Gum disease is caused by accumulating a sticky substance called plaque, which provides a safe environment for bacteria that inflame and destroy the sensitive tissues and bones supporting teeth. With good home care and regular visits to the pediatric dentistry of tracy, most children can avoid gum disease altogether. If symptoms do appear, an immediate treatment plan at Kids Care Dental & Orthodontics in Tracy, CA, will stop the infection from worsening. This will include more intensive home care and dental cleanings to remove hardened plaque and tartar. We will also recommend medications such as antibiotics to help fight the infection.

Dietary Supplements

Having the right vitamins and minerals in the body is essential for all aspects of health, including oral health. Vitamins like calcium help build and strengthen teeth, while mineral phosphorus helps repair tooth enamel. Vitamin D is also essential for the absorption of calcium. Fortunately, foods like milk, yogurt, cheese, leafy greens, and fortified cereals provide plenty of calcium. Phosphorus can be found in meats, fish, dairy products, and beans.

Foods and beverages high in sugar promote tooth decay, especially when eaten frequently and while sucking or chewing. Avoiding sugary drinks and replacing them with water helps minimize dental damage. This is especially true for infants and toddlers, who can develop “nursing bottle tooth decay,” which causes the rapid decomposition of primary upper front teeth and some lower back molars due to a prolonged sucking period at nap or sleep time.

Carbohydrates are the preferred fuel for bacteria that cause dental decay. However, dietary fats and proteins digest in the mouth at different rates from carbohydrates, so they are less cariogenic (cause tooth decay). Nonnutritive sweeteners such as aspartame also reduce the cariogenic impact on the teeth.


Oral health is integral to overall health, affecting all body systems. Poor oral hygiene can lead to various medical problems, such as heart disease, osteoporosis, and certain cancers.

Brushing is the most effective way to remove harmful plaque — a thin, sticky substance loaded with bacteria that coats teeth and gums — from the mouth. Regular and proper brushing reduces inflammation in the mouth and helps prevent infections, such as gum disease, which can lead to tooth loss.

For this study, residents in the nursing home were provided with a toothbrush (Dr. Barman’s Superbrush), brush for dentures, and interdental brushes of different sizes as well as toothpaste and SuperFloss (Oral-B, Procter & Gamble, Schwalbach, Germany). Change in dental health was tested using a linear mixed model with treatment and time and possible influence variables entered univariably into the base model. A multivariable model was not conducted due to the death of participants with fewer remaining teeth than the group average.

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