Healthy Food for Preschooler Teeth

Healthy eating habits help your preschooler’s baby teeth grow and protect teeth against tooth decay and cavities. Offer healthy food choices, plan sit-down meals and snacks, cut back on sweet and sticky foods, and limit all-day grazing. These good habits for healthy teeth will help prevent preschooler tooth decay and reinforce eating habits that will protect your preschooler’s teeth for years to come.

Well-known enemies of tooth health are candy, soda, and sweet treats. But any food that contains sugars and starches can ‘feed’ plaque and produce the acids that cause cavities. The starch found in crackers, pretzels, and cereal can result in these cavity-producing acids, especially if these foods stick on your preschooler’s teeth or get deposited in the molars. Take a close look at all cavity-causing foods in your preschooler’s diet. If your preschooler enjoys sugary or starchy foods that stick to the teeth, be extra vigilant about brushing after meals and snacks.

Food Habits to Avoid for Healthy Preschooler Teeth

  1. Don’t use sippy cups containing juice, fruit punch, soda, and other sugary drinks, especially at bedtime.
  2. Don’t graze or eat constantly. Since many foods contain sugars or starches that can lead to cavities, an important habit for preschoolers to practice is to eat only at mealtimes plus a couple planned snacks per day. Constant snacking contributes to cavities.
  3. Be aware of foods that stick to teeth or last long in the mouth – contact with teeth for longer than 20 minutes can lead to tooth damage and decay:
  4. Sugary foods that can stick to the teeth or last long in the mouth include caramels, sugary gum, dried fruit, hard candy, and sipping on soda, juice, or punch over long periods.
  5. Starchy foods that can stick to the teeth or last long in the mouth include crackers, pretzels, cereals, bread.

Healthy Food Habits for Healthy Preschooler Teeth

1. Plan meals and snacks

2. Drink water or milk between meals and snacks

3. Offer these healthy snacks:

  • fresh fruits and raw vegetables
  • cheese
  • nuts and nut butters
  • yogurt
  • lean meat, chicken, and fish

More About Preschooler Dental Health

Healthy teeth depend on a balanced diet that provides the nutrients your preschooler needs. Dairy products like milk provide calcium and vitamin D necessary for healthy teeth. Eating a variety of foods from other foods groups such as fruits, vegetables, meat/beans, and whole grains is also important. Help your preschooler brush and floss and remember to visit the dentist!

Free Oral Health Kit for your Preschool Classroom
The Colgate Bright Smiles, Bright Future dental health kit is available at no cost to you and is a great supplement to your preschool curriculum. This years preschool kit includes a sing-along CD, a big book for preschool teachers, a teachers guide, and a take-home storybook and a family pack for your preschool students.

Taking Care of Teeth – Preschool Dental Health
February is Dental Health Month. Take the opportunity to teach preschoolers about the importance of good dental health. This curriculum theme will have preschoolers motivated to take better care of their teeth. Fabulous science activities will show preschoolers what really happens to their teeth if they don’t take care of them.