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How Diet Plays A Role In Ensuring The Health Of Your Child’s Smile

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March is a month that is synonymous with renewal and fresh beginnings because of the arrival of spring. It is also a month to make a new commitment with your child to healthy eating, with March being National Nutrition Month. At Scuba Smiles for Kids, we are committed to the health of your children, but especially the health of their mouth, teeth and gums. And without a well-balanced and nutritious diet, your child will have a very difficult time maintaining proper oral hygiene.

“Your child’s diet is critically important for good oral health,” says Dr. Ashley Loudermilk, dentist at Scuba Smiles for Kids in North Central San Antonio. “The mouth is the portal to the rest of your body. And so, if your child is not eating healthy, it is likely that their overall health will be compromised.”

With this being National Nutrition Month, here are 7 key vitamins and minerals we recommend you include in your child’s diet.

Calcium

 Calcium is wonderful for your child’s teeth. This mineral helps to build bones and provides structural support. In your child’s mouth, it helps harden their tooth enamel and strengthen their jawbone.

Here are great ways to make sure your child gets plenty of calcium: Be sure to include cheese and yogurt in their diet.  Did you know that cheese is an excellent snack for keeping the smile of your child looking great? Cheese has a high calcium content.  Broccoli, carrots, and salmon are also great sources of calcium. Plus, snacks taste better with a cold glass of milk which is rich in calcium.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D can help your child absorb calcium while also helping to strengthen their bones. So, making sure your child gets enough vitamin D is a wonderful way to supercharge the calcium intake of your child.

Your child’s body naturally produces vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. What a great reason to get your children outside playing in the sunshine and away from video games!  Vitamin D can also be found in fatty fish and canned tuna.

“There are also healthy foods and drinks out there which have been fortified with vitamin D, such as milk, orange juice, and cereal,” says Dr. Loudermilk.

Potassium

Similar to vitamin D, potassium can improve bone density. It also works with magnesium to prevent blood in a body from becoming overly acidic, which can leach calcium from your child’s bones and teeth.

Bananas are one of the best known sources of potassium. You can also find potassium in fruits and vegetables such avocados, sweet potatoes and lima beans.

 Phosphorus 

Phosphorus is a mineral that is already in your child’s bones and teeth. It works with calcium to create something called hydroxyapatite, which is the main structural component of bones and tooth enamel.

Rich sources of phosphorus include seafood, such as scallops, sardines, cod, shrimp, tuna, and salmon. You can also find it in beef, pork, and cheese.  Phosphorus can also be found in many plant-based foods including soybeans and lentils.

Vitamin K

Think of vitamin K as a superhero with a shield!  It helps block substances that break down the bones of a child. It also helps your child produce osteocalcin, which is a protein that supports bone strength.

Serving up fun salads can be a great way to make sure your children get enough vitamin K. You can toss in leafy greens, such as kale, collards, spinach, and broccoli, which can help your child get a sufficient amount of vitamin K.

 Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a magic potion, if you will, which strengthens gums and the soft tissue in your child’s mouth. Vitamin C is also great at protecting their teeth and gums from gingivitis, the early stage of gum disease.

Citrus fruits like grapefruit, oranges, or Texas Peaches are rich in vitamin C. Whole fruits are a wonderful way for your child to get their recommended daily dose of vitamin C, as opposed to introducing heavy amounts of juice into their diets, because fruit juices tend to be high in sugar.

 Vitamin A

 Vitamin A is crucial for good oral health. It helps to support the immune system, vision, and the production of healthy saliva. Vitamin A helps your child’s mucous membranes to be healthy, which helps to prevent dry mouth and can help their mouth heal faster.

Vitamin A can be found in many of the foods mentioned already, including leafy green vegetables such as spinach, kale, and collard greens. Some other suggestions to get vitamin A into your child’s diet might be apricots, cantaloupe, pumpkin, carrots, and sweet potatoes, which contain high levels of beta-carotene that will be converted into vitamin A by your child’s body.

“Making sure your child has a healthy diet, not only helps them keep their bodies in top shape, but also ensures their teeth and gums are healthy all year long,” said Dr. Loudermilk.