4 "Healthy" Things That Can Hurt Your Child's Oral Health

10 January 2017
 Categories: Dentist, Articles

As a parent, you most likely want to provide your children with health and happiness. You may spend time together, making memories, ensuring they receive the best education possible, and teaching them the importance of being kind and eating a well-balanced diet. Unfortunately, certain things you may think are healthy for your child can wreak havoc on their oral health. Many snacks, beverages, toys, and even certain hobbies can affect the underlying health of your child's mouth, teeth, and gums. With this guide and the help of your dentist, you can protect your child's oral health.

Juice/Sports Drinks

Visit your local grocery or discount retailer to walk down the juice aisle and you will be overwhelmed by all the different options. In most stores, many different small bottles, pouches, and boxes of juice that are specifically targeted to kids are available.

If you are like most parents, you will purchase this juice and give it to your child multiple times per day. You may think it is healthy for your children, but the high amount of sugar found in fruit juice can increase your child's risk of cavities, decay, and gum disease.

Of course, your child can drink some juice. Just make sure it is 100 percent pasteurized fruit juice, and use the following information to determine the daily serving amounts:

  • Under 6 Months of Age – No juice
  • Between 6 and 12 Months of Age – Up to 4 or 6 ounces in a cup
  • Between 1 and 6 Years of Age – 4 to 6 ounces
  • 6 Years of Age and Older – Up to 8 to 12 ounces


Whether your child sprinkles it on yogurt or eats it in cereal or bar form, granola is not as healthy as you may think. The crumbly, crackly nature of the granola will not only erode your child's tooth enamel, but it can also get stuck in between the teeth.

Without a proper layer of enamel, your child's teeth will be exposed to food particles and bacteria that may stick and stain. Your child will have a higher risk of developing severe stains, plaque, cavities, and more involved tooth decay.

Fruit Snacks/Strips

Again, if it has fruit in the name, you probably think it is healthy for your child. However, fruit snacks and fruit strips only contain fruit flavoring. The excessive amount of sugar found in these snacks will build up on your child's teeth and gums, causing plaque, dry mouth, bacteria, and cavities.

If your child enjoys fruit flavors and chewy snacks, consider dehydrating fresh fruit. Wash strawberries, kiwi fruits, apples, and bananas. Be sure to peel the kiwi and bananas after washing. Slice them into small, flat pieces. Lay the pieces flat on a dehydrator tray and place in dehydrator machine. Or, lay the pieces on a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper. Place in the oven and set temperature to around 170 or 200 degrees. Allow the fruit pieces to remain in oven for 6 to 8 hours.

Allow your child to snack on these 100 percent fruit snacks as a healthier alternative to processed snacks sold in stores.

Brushing Too Soon After Eating

Many parents will teach their kids to brush after each meal. Unfortunately, brushing too soon after eating a meal can lead to serious oral health problems.

Some foods and beverages contain acidic properties, which remain on the teeth long after consuming. Tomatoes, sauces and condiments, oranges, apples, lemons, limes, soda, and other acidic foods will wear down tooth enamel, causing cavities and decay over time. Brushing immediately after consuming these foods will only spread the acids across the teeth and gums, which will speed up the wearing down of enamel.

Saliva will wash these acids away after your child eats, but make sure they brush thoroughly in the morning and at night before bed.

Parenting can be difficult, but you do not have to stress over your child's oral health. While surprising, you and your child should understand how these 4 "healthy" things can affect the mouth, teeth, and gums. For more information and advice, talk with a local dentist, such as those at Little Peoples Dentistry.