A good diet helps to keep teeth healthy and strong.

Having healthy habits when it comes to eating will help prevent acid attacks and therefore, cavities.

What are some good foods and snacks?

The good food choices for teeth are: cheeses, chicken or other meats, nuts, peanut butter and milk. These foods are thought to protect the tooth enamel by providing calcium and phosphorus to remineralize teeth.

Other good food choices for teeth are firm and crunchy foods like: apples, pears and vegetables. The high water content of these foods will dilute their natural sugars and stimulate saliva to wash away food particles. Popcorn is another good snack choice that is crunchy to clean teeth.

Acidic foods, such as citrus fruits, tomatoes and lemons, should be eaten as part of a larger meal to minimize their acids.

What about sweets and snacks?

Everybody likes to have a sweet now and again. The key is choosing sweets that are tooth friendly and melt away. Melt away sweets, such as popsicles, ice cream, pudding or chocolate, are better choices than sticky treats, such as fruit roll-ups, lollipops and fruit snacks. A good test is if it would make your teeth stick together when you chew it, it should be a hardly ever or never treat.

Snacking or ‘grazing’ throughout the day can cause cavities, since constantly eating food leads to more sugars in the mouth and more frequent acid attacks. It is better to eat three meals a day with limited snacks than eating constantly throughout the day.

Sipping on a sugary drink or licking a hard candy slowly to make it last will create a longer lasting acid attack.

Be careful with starchy snacks such as pretzels, goldfish and potato chips, as starches break down into sugars too.

What are the best choices for beverages?

The best beverage choice between meals is water. Any other drinks are better to drink at meal or snack time. It takes your saliva 20 minutes to wash away sugars and acids. Slow sipping of beverages between meals, like a toddler drinking a Sippy cup of juice while playing, exposes teeth to constant sugar and can cause cavities. Limit consumption of sugary drinks, such as juice, soda, lemonade and tea with added sugar.

What about sports drinks?

Exercise care with sports drinks. Due to their high sugar content and acids, sports drinks should be avoided and children may hydrate with water. If a sport drink is consumed, it should be consumed quickly and rinsed with water afterwards.