Many parents are unaware that a highly acidic diet can have significant consequences for their child’s smile and that even some apparently healthy foods, such as some fruits and vegetables, can be harmful if consumed in excess.
Acid can erode the enamel, causing tooth sensitivity and making the teeth more susceptible to cavities. So, if your child makes a habit of snacking on citrus fruits, for example, it can create a situation that must be addressed by a pediatric dentist. Tomatoes (and tomato products) and some berries can have a similar effect.
You don’t necessarily need to completely restrict acidic foods –especially the nutritious ones like citrus fruits—from your child’s diet. A pediatric dentist can advise you on making sure that your child gets the right balance of nutritious acidic foods in a way that won’t harm their teeth. For example, the dentist may instruct you to pair acidic foods with water, which can readily clear the acid from the mouth.
Eating foods that are lower in acid, like cheese and eggs, at the same time as consuming acidic foods may also offer some level of protection, as can chewing sugar-free gum, which stimulates saliva production.
Good oral hygiene habits can also help to safeguard your child’s smile from the effects of an acidic diet. Your pediatric dentist should be able to give your child any necessary instruction or reinforcement in this area.
Some highly acidic foods and beverages have no nutritional value, however, and should be completely eliminated from your child’s diet. Sodas fall into this category. On the rare occasions when your child does drink soda, he or she should use a straw to minimize contact between the soda and the teeth. Sugary foods can also contribute to an acidic environment in the mouth, as bacteria feed on sugars and then create acidic substances as a byproduct of digestion.
A highly acidic diet can harm your child’s teeth. Check in with our dentist who specializes in treating children to learn more about what foods to limit and what foods to encourage in your child’s diet.
Contact us at Fort Worth Children’s Dentistry today!