Food and drinks for healthy teeth

It is important to consider how the food and drinks you give your child can affect their teeth.

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It’s not just what they eat and drink but when they eat and drink it. This section tells you what you need to think about to make sure your child’s teeth are strong and healthy.

To encourage healthy eating, it is important to reduce overall snacking and concentrate on providing healthy family meals. However, children need energy as they grow to develop and keep them active.

Make sure you give your child a variety of foods. Try to include something from each of the four food groups throughout the day:

  • Starchy foods - bread, rice, potatoes, pasta and other starchy foods.
  • Fruit and vegetables - although grapes should be cut in half to prevent choking.
  • Dairy - e.g. milk, yoghurt and cheese.
  • Protein - meat, fish, beans and eggs.

Young children have small appetites and need regular meals with snacks in between and do need some full fat foods in their diet. Childsmile has put together some ideas to help you provide a variety of healthy safe snacks for both you and your children to enjoy at home and at school or play.

  • Fresh vegetables - tomatoes, celery, carrot and cucumber sticks, sliced peppers, sugar snap peas.
  • Sandwiches - try various fillings: cold meat, tuna, grated low fat cheese, egg, salad items, tomato or banana.
  • Some other choices - bread sticks, oatcakes, crackers, rice cakes, a plain or cheese scone, a crumpet, a bagel, a potato scone, a pancake, a toasted teacake.

Dried fruit and fresh fruit juice can be counted as one portion each of your 5-a-day fruit and vegetables. However, they contain hidden sugars and are best taken at mealtimes.

Find out why it is important to prevent tooth decay, ideas for healthy snacks and healthy drinks.

You can also find out more about hidden sugars in food and drinks.