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  6. Adopt healthy eating habits

Adopt healthy eating habits

  • Avoid foods and drinks that are high in sugar, including:
    • soft drinks and juices with added sugar;
    • energy drinks, due to their sugar content, but also their acidity;
    • candies, especially those that stick to the teeth for a long time and are harder to remove, such as caramel candies;
    • sticky cookies, pastries and cereal bars;
    • chips, which contain starch, a substance that turns into sugar during the manufacturing process.
  • Preferably have the following foods and drinks:
    • milk, yogurt and cheese;
    • raw fruits and vegetables;
    • nuts and seeds;
    • wholegrain cereals.
  • Put less sugar in your coffee or tea or, ideally, none at all.
  • Cut down on how often you eat high-sugar foods.
  • If you eat foods that contribute to tooth decay, eat them at the same time as other nutritious foods such as hard cheeses. Cheese contains phosphorous and calcium, which protect tooth enamel. Also, chewing hard cheese increases saliva production. Saliva cleans teeth, combats the action of acids in the mouth and protects against tooth decay.
  • Eat sweet foods at the end of your meals rather than on their own as a snack. This will be less damaging to your teeth because chewing food during a meal increases saliva production.
  • If possible, drink fluoridated water.

Advice for babies and young children

  • Avoid giving your child milk in a baby bottle or sippy cup when he is playing or to put him to sleep. You can, however, give him water in a bottle. Saliva production decreases during sleep, making your baby’s teeth more vulnerable to the sugars in the milk while he is sleeping.
  • If your child already has the habit of falling asleep with a bottle of milk, dilute it with water. Gradually decrease the quantity of milk over a week or two until the bottle contains only water.
  • Never dip your child’s pacifier in sweet products such as sugar, corn syrup or honey.
  • Avoid putting your child’s pacifier, bottle, food and utensils in your mouth. This way, you will not pass on bacteria that can cause tooth decay to your child.
  • Use a teething ring rather than teething biscuits.
  • Limit the amount and frequency of sweet foods or drinks. Also, avoid giving them between meals.
  • If you give your child juices or sweet drinks, do so only during or after meals. Eating increases saliva production in your child’s mouth, which helps combat the action of bacteria on teeth. Give your child water between meals.
  • Avoid giving your child juice or sweet drinks in a baby bottle or sippy cup repeatedly or for a long time. Give him water instead. At around 12 to 14 months of age, stop using a bottle and get your child used to drinking from a cup.

Last update: July 16, 2018


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