By now we all know the basics of keeping our teeth and gums healthy…twice a day brushing, daily flossing, regular dental check-ups, and so on. But is there more we can do? Yes! Most of us don’t realize that what we put into our bodies and how our bodies absorb those nutrients plays a significant role in our overall oral health.
Here are four things we need to include in our kid’s diets:
- Drink adequate water
- Get 20-30 minutes of mid-day sun exposure for Vitamin D
- Get enough healthy fats
- Daily magnesium intake
Getting Your Kids to Drink More Water
Water is the most important nutrient for us on the planet, but for most kids, it’s a challenge to get them to drink enough. While chronic dehydration can cause a myriad of health problems, it can also have a huge impact on your oral health.
Here are just a few ways drinking water can boost your family’s oral health:
- Cleans away freshly formed bacteria.
- It helps your body produce enough saliva, which is your mouth’s first defense against tooth decay.
- Lowers your mouth’s pH level after eating acidic foods and beverages.
Tip: If you have trouble getting your children to drink plain water, try adding in some fruits like strawberries, lemon, lime, or even a combination. There are tons of ideas on Pinterest.
Get Your Kids Outside and Possibly a Vitamin D Supplement
While many of us know that getting enough vitamin D is essential for healthy living, you may not know that it is also linked to better overall oral health.
Not only does vitamin D lower the rate of tooth decay, but it also helps to prevent other diseases of the gums such as gingivitis. One study conducted showed that children who were given a vitamin D supplement on a daily basis had fewer cavities throughout the study than those who did not take the supplement.
Even if you live in a mostly sunny area, because of our fear of skin damage, you probably find yourself lathering your kids with sunblock. Unfortunately, this doesn’t allow our bodies to absorb the needed amounts of vitamin D from the sun. While we still suggest putting sunscreen on for long exposure to the sun, we recommend your kids get 10–30 minutes of mid-day sunlight without sunscreen, several times per week.
If you think your children need to get more vitamin D, ask your pediatrician to have a simple blood test done and/or for some good supplement recommendations.
Add More Healthy Fats to Your Kid’s Diet
The days of avoiding fat is a thing of the past; Or at least it should be. Healthy fats are essential to healthy teeth and even overall health. However, not all fats are created equal. When we say healthy fats, we are talking about foods rich in omega 3s and saturated fats such as olive oil, avocados, coconut oil, grass-fed butter, almonds, and fatty fish.
Here are 4 easy ways to increase healthy fats into your kid’s diets:
- Make smoothies in the morning that incorporate coconut oil or avocados.
- Offer almonds as an afternoon snack or even add to lunches.
- Research some no-bake energy bars that are kid-approved, but include the use of coconut oil, grass-fed butter or ghee, flax seed meal, and/or almond butter.
- Ask your pediatrician for recommendations on kid-friendly supplements like cod liver oil.
Daily Magnesium Intake
Magnesium is the eighth-most abundant mineral on earth and the fourth most abundant mineral in the human body. It is necessary for numerous reactions within the body. Needless to say, it is vital to our overall health, including strong bones and teeth. We traditionally received much of our magnesium from our food. Unfortunately, most modern farming processes tax the soil, depleting it of its natural magnesium.
To add magnesium to your diet, you can take a supplement or use a topical magnesium spray. Ask your pediatrician what they recommend.
Making sure your kids are brushing and flossing their teeth is just the tip of the tooth when it comes to oral health. You also need to make sure they are receiving the needed hydration, nutrients, and minerals their bodies need to naturally keep their teeth and gums healthy from the inside out.