Tooth-healthy eating for every age and stage
Even though your baby’s first tooth may come in around six months of age, baby teeth are nearly completely formed at birth. A baby’s permanent teeth are also starting to form as soon as they are born.
This means that even though a baby doesn’t have any teeth yet, it is still very important to feed your baby healthy foods that will help them grow strong teeth.
Ages birth to 6 months old
For breastfed babies:
If you are nursing your baby, it is important to:
For bottle-fed babies:
While your baby is being bottle-fed it is important to remember that:
Ages 6 to 9 months old
Children who have not had sugary snacks before will enjoy things like vegetables, fruit and cheese. A baby’s eating habits start when the child is young, so now is the time to serve the healthiest foods you can.
Once you have introduced solid food to your child:
Ages 9 to 12 months old
Once your baby is able to eat finger foods:
Age one year and older
Eating a healthy diet means that your child eats many foods that build strong teeth and gums. A good diet can also help prevent cavities.
Some foods that are healthy and good for teeth are:
Fruits and vegetables: Fresh and crunchy fruits and vegetables (such as carrots, apples, celery, and pears) should make up half of what your child eats every day.
Grains: Whole grains like oatmeal, brown rice, and whole wheat bread.
Dairy: Low-fat or fat-free milk, cheese, and yogurt.
Lean protein: Lean beef, skinless chicken breast, or fish. Eggs, beans, peas, and seeds are also good ways for your child to eat protein that aren’t meat.
Foods with sugar can cause cavities
Sugary foods taste great, but they are not good for teeth. Germs called bacteria live in our mouths all the time. The bacteria forms sticky stuff called plaque. Plaque lives on teeth. When we eat sugary things, it’s food for the bacteria. The bacteria gobble up the sugar and turn it into acid. The acid eats away at teeth, and that’s how a cavity starts.
The more often we eat sugary snacks during the day, the more we feed the bacteria in our mouths that cause cavities. That’s why it is good to eat foods that are very low in sugar and to avoid snacking on sugary foods or drinking soda, sports drinks, juice or other sweet drinks in between meals.
Sugar is in many foods, not just candy and soda. It is even found in things that don’t taste sweet like pizza, bread, and rolls. All types of sugars can cause cavities.
How to limit sugar
While avoiding sugary foods and eating a balanced diet can help prevent cavities, it is important to brush your child’s teeth with fluoride toothpaste and a toothbrush two times a day for two minutes each time every day.
To keep your child’s teeth healthy, remember to: