I think by now everyone knows that sticky candy like Starburst, Jolly Ranchers and Tootsie Rolls = really bad news for your teeth. All that (admittedly delicious) sugar loves to flow down into every groove, nook and cranny of teeth and STAY THERE. Naturally, the result is not good, creating a perfect environment for tooth decay. But, what about other foods? Generally, if a food is good for your body, it’s probably good for your teeth, or at least not terrible for them. Fresh fruits have sugar, but they also have fiber which helps to act a little like a toothbrush as you eat them. Fresh veggies are always good, and a protein like cheese is actually a good food to finish a meal with, because it doesn’t create an acidic environment, which can lead to decay.
Our youngest daughter is two, and considers cat food to be kid caviar. No matter where I hide it, she finds it and has a little sample, almost daily. Now, I’m not totally sure what’s in that stuff, but I assume it is a mix of protein and carbohydrates. So, dentally, it’s probably along the lines of eating those little fish crackers. Which is to say, it’s not great for teeth. Simple carbohydrates break down into simple sugars, which create and acidic environment that makes a perfect environment for dental decay. So, after Lucy does her cat food dance-of-joy, it’s time to get that stuff off her teeth. Science has never come up with a better way of keeping your teeth clean than brushing (with fluoride toothpaste) and flossing, so as much as we all hate it sometimes, it’s necessary to help fend off the junky organisms that can cause decay and gum disease. And, if you are homeroom mom/dad, or snack mom/dad, or you just signed up to bring snacks to a bunch of random people somewhere, try taking fresh fruit, vegetables, string cheese and water. Kids everywhere like it, and it’s good for them. Save the candy (or Friskies Seafood Delight) for special treats, and BRUSH THOSE TEETH because I don’t want to have to make any pediatric dentures.