What are the Best and the Worst Foods for Children’s Dental Health? - Brookline Dental Specialists
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What are the Best and the Worst Foods for Children’s Dental Health?

What are the Best and the Worst Foods for Children’s Dental Health?

If you have a child in your life, you don’t need us to tell you that kids like to snack! But when it comes to children’s dental health, not all snacks are created equal.

To help you and your child make snack choices that both satisfy and promote healthy smiles, here is a list of some of the best and the worst foods for children’s dental health!

Child eating an apple

Eat These:


While most fruits make for healthy snacking, apples are the best at promoting dental health. Not only are apples full of fiber and have a satisfying crunch, but they also encourage the production of saliva, which naturally washes away bacteria lurking in the mouth, protecting teeth from cavities and gum irritation.

Cheese, Yogurt, and Milk

Dairy products are rich in calcium, phosphorus, and casein, all minerals that help neutralize the acids produced by plaque bacteria. If snacking on yogurt or milk, plain versions are best as they are likely to contain the least added sugar.

Carrots and Celery

Like fruit, all vegetables are a smart snack choice, but carrots and celery do the most to support children’s dental health. Both contain high levels of water, are natural teeth cleaners, and chewing these crunchy treats massages tiny teeth and gums.


Snacking on eggs promotes children’s dental health from the inside out! Eggs are rich in protein, calcium, and vitamin D, all of which are essential for maintaining strong, healthy teeth.

Avoid These:


It will come as no surprise that candy is on the list of snack foods to avoid. Most candy contains very high amounts of sugar, which attracts the bacteria that creates plaque and causes cavities.

Soda, Juice, and Other Sugary Drinks

Consumption of beverages that contain high levels of refined or natural sugar is one of the biggest threats to children’s dental health. In addition to sugar, many of these beverages contain acids that can weaken the enamel that protects your child’s teeth.

Dried Fruit

While dried fruit may sound like a healthy snack, its chewy, sticky texture can harm children’s teeth. Dried fruit can easily get stuck in the crevices between teeth, encouraging the growth of plaque-forming bacteria.


Potato and corn chips may be tasty, but they have little nutritional value, can get stuck between teeth, and contain high amounts of starch. The starch in foods like chips, bread, and pasta easily breaks down into sugar in the mouth, leading to the growth of bacteria.

child holding a glass of milk and giving a thumbs up

How Can I Get My Kids to Eat Smile-Friendly Snacks?

It can be hard to convince your child to eat an apple when surrounded by unhealthy snacks marketed directly to kids. A boiled egg can be a hard sell compared to a bag of brightly packaged chips.

The best way to establish healthy snacking habits is by starting early! Kids given foods that promote dental health from an early age are more likely to reach for them as they grow up.

You should also consider how healthy snacks are presented. Carrot and celery sticks can be a lot more appealing when they come in a container with their favorite character on it.

It is unrealistic to think that your kids will never indulge in a can of sugary soda or a gooey candy bar, but you can encourage them to consider the health of their teeth when choosing a snack. They might not always choose that snack, but it increases the likelihood that they will!

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